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Mrs. Samuel Harrison Smith (Margaret Bayard). 

After the portrait by Charles Bird King, in the possession of her grandson, 
J. Henley Smith, Washington. 












NEW YORK ;: ;: ;: 1906 



Published November, 1906. 


During the first forty years of its existence the city 
of Washington had a society, more definite and real than 
it has come to have in later days. The permanent resi- 
dents, although appurtenant to the changing official ele- 
ment, nevertheless furnished the framework which the 
larger and more important social life used to build upon, 
and the result was a structure of society tolerably com- 
pact and pleasing and certainly interesting. It was 
emphatically official, but it did not include the lower class 
officials, who found their recreation for the most part at 
the street resorts, and its tone was dignified and whole- 
some. At any rate, it was genuine and national, even 
if it was crude, and the day of the all-powerful rich man 
and his dominance in social life had not yet arrived. 

Samuel Harrison Smith, a writer and editor in Phila- 
delphia, came to the city in the year 1800, soon after the 
government had moved there. He was the son of Jona- 
than Bayard Smith, a member of the Continental Con- 
gress, signer of the Articles of Confederation and Colonel 
of a Pennsylvania regiment during the Revolution; and 
although he was only 28 years old he established the first 
national newspaper printed in America, which he called 
The National Intelligencer. Just before his paper was 
started he returned to Philadelphia, and on September 29, 
1800, married his second cousin, Margaret Bayard, and 
their wedding journey was from Philadelphia to Wash- 
ington where they lived the rest of their lives; and for 


forty years their house was the resort of the most interest- 
ing characters in national public life. The first number of 
The National Intelligencer appeared October 31, 1800, 
and after conducting it successfully for a number of years 
Mr. Smith sold it to Joseph Gales, Jr., who afterwards 
associated with himself as editor, William W. Seaton. In 
1813 President Madison appointed Mr. Smith the first 
Commissioner of the Revenue of the Treasury Depart- 
ment and on September 30, 18 14, Secretary of the Treas- 
ury ad interim. From 1809 to 18 19 he was President of 
the Bank of Washington and later President of the Wash- 
ington branch Bank of the United States until the office 
was abolished ten years before his death. Undoubtedly, 
the success of his career was partly due to the assistance 
given him by his talented wife. 

Margaret Bayard was born, February 29, 1778, in 
Philadelphia, the daughter of Colonel John Bayard, a 
famous revolutionary officer, Speaker of the Pennsyl- 
vania Assembly and member of the Continental Congress. 
Colonel Bayard's nephew and adopted son was James A. 
Bayard, a distinguished diplomat and Senator from Dela- 
ware, and James A. Bayard's son, having the same 
name, was also a Senator from Delaware, as was his 
grandson, the late Thomas Francis Bayard. Margaret 
Bayard was 22 years old when she married, and it was 
inevitable that one who wrote so readily should eventu- 
ally print her pieces, and in due course she fell in with 
Godey, Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, Anthony Bleecker, 
J. Herrick and Miss Catherine Maria Sedgwick, and 
from 1823 up to a few years before her death she 
was an occasional contributor to the literature of the 
day. For Godey's Lady's Book she wrote "Domestic 
Sketches," an account of Presidential Inaugurations and 
a serial moral story printed in March, April and May, 


1837, entitled "Who Is Happy?" She also wrote some 
Spanish tales, "Constantine" and several other Roman 
stones, "Lucy," "The Sister," and "Estelle Aubert," a 
translation from the French which Mrs. Hale printed in 
1834. In 1835 she printed in The National Intelli- 
gencer a letter in verse anonymously to Harriet Mar- 
tineau, and probably contributed to this paper on other 
occasions which cannot be identified. In 1837 she wrote 
for The Southern Literary Messenger and Peter Parley 
(Goodrich's) Annual "The Token," but anonymously. 
She contributed to Herrick & Longacre's "National Por- 
trait Gallery," doubtless the articles on Mrs. Madison and 
probably one or two others. Her contributions were gen- 
erally moral essays or stories, pitched high as the taste of 
the day required. The most ambitious product of her pen 
was a large novel in two volumes entitled "A Winter in 
Washington, or Memoirs of the Seymour Family," pub- 
lished in 1824 (New York: E. Bliss and E. White) 
anonymously. Her authorship was, however, not con- 
cealed and was generally known at the time, and the book 
after being a decided success has since become exceedingly 
rare. The characters were taken from real life, and it 
has historical value because of a number of anecdotes, 
chiefly of Thomas Jefferson, scattered through its pages. 
Another volume published by her was a story of 257 
pages, printed in 1828 and sold at a fair held for the 
benefit of the Washington Orphan Asylum, bearing the 
title "What Is Gentility?" (Published by Pishey Thomp- 
son. DeKraf t, Printer. ) Undoubtedly Mrs. Smith's most 
interesting and valuable writings were those which she 
never intended for publication and which have hitherto 
never seen the light, being her private letters, in which she 
opens an intimate view of the famous political characters 
in Washington, whose acquaintance and friendship she 


enjoyed. Those letters present a picture highly enter- 
taining and valuable, and so do some of the reminiscences 
which she wrote in her note-books. 

She was the intimate friend of Jefferson — who was 
her life's hero — and his family, and one of his most char- 
acteristic letters, that in which he discloses his views 
on religion, was addressed to her; of the Madisons, the 
Clays, the Calhouns ; of William Wirt, the accomplished 
Attorney-General for twelve years, and of William H. 
Crawford, whose partisan in his candidacy for the Pres- 
idency she became, besides many others. She enter- 
tained Harriet Martineau when she came to Washing- 
ton on her famous tour, held long conversations with the 
Socialist, Owen of Lanark, and had as one of her intimate 
friends Madame de Neuville, the wife of Hyde de Neu- 
ville, the most popular of the early ministers of France 
to the United States. She was a remarkably truthful 
letter writer, and never embellished her correspondence 
with apocryphal gossip. She judged her fellow-man 
charitably and believed in her country absolutely, and did 
not herself participate in any of the party rancor which 
raged around her. She was a Republican, to which party 
her husband adhered, but she came of a Federalist family 
and looked not unkindly upon her husband's opponents. 
She died January 7, 1844, and her husband November 1, 

In the valuable manuscript collection in my pos- 
session are several thousand of my grandmother's letters 
and of letters to her from nearly all the prominent char- 
acters of her day. They were kept by her son, Jonathan 
Bayard Harrison Smith, my father, under lock and 
key during his life, and have only been seen since coming 


under my control after my mother's death. From this 
mass of material Mr. Hunt has selected only those letters 
which give an intimate view of the social life of Wash- 
ington nearly a hundred years ago. Most of the letters 
are addressed to Mrs. Smith's sisters, Jane, herself a. 
woman of literary accomplishments, the wife of Chief 
Justice Andrew Kirkpatrick of New Jersey, and Anna, 
who married Mr. Samuel Boyd of New York; and her 
husband's sisters, Susan Bayard Smith and Mary Ann 
Smith ; and her son, when he was a student at Princeton. 
Sidney, the country place from which she often wrote, 
was a farm of 200 acres, a portion of which the Catholic 
University now occupies; but the original house is still 

J. Henley Smith. 


Mrs. Samuel Harrison Smith (Margaret Bayard), 

After the portrait by Charles Bird King, in the possession of her grand- 
son, J. Henley Smith, Washington. 



Colonel John Bayard, Father of Margaret Bayard . 6 

A famous Revolutionary officer, Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly, 
and Member of the Continental Congress. 

Aaron Burr 20 

From a portrait by John Vanderlyn, in the possession of Pierrepont 
Edwards, Elizabeth, N. J. 

James A. Bayard, Senator from Delaware ... 24 

From an engraving of the original painting by Wertmuller. 

Thomas Jefferson, by Gilbert Stuart . ... 30 

The property of T. Jefferson Coolidge. 

Samuel Harrison Smith, Founder of The National 

Intelligencer ......... 40 

After the portrait by Charles Bird King. 

Mr. Jefferson, Mrs. Madison, Mr. Madison ... 60 

Silhouettes from life. 

Monticello — North Front 66 

Monticello— South Front 68 

Monticello — Entrance Hall ....... 72 

Monticello— Salon ' . . .76 

Montpelier 82 

Madison's home, near Richmond, Virginia. 



View of the East Front of the President's House, 
with the Addition of the North and South 
Porticos 94 

From a drawing made in 1807 by B. H. Latrobe, surveyor of the public 
buildings, Washington. 

The President's House, Washington, after the Con- 
flagration of August 24, 1814 102 

The Capitol after the Conflagration of Augvst 

24, 1814 no 

Mrs. James Madison 134 

From the steel engraving by J. F. E. Prudhomme, after the portrait by 
J. Wood. 

Andrew Jackson . . . . ' 174 

From the painting by Sully (1823), in the Corcoran Gallery, Washington. 

Henry Clay, Secretary of State 1825-1829 . . . 208 

From the portrait by Edward Dalton Marchant, in the State Depart- 
ment, Washington. 

James Madison 234 

From a picture by Gilbert Stuart, in the possession of T. Jefferson Coolidge. 

John Quincy Adams . .248 

From the portrait by Jean Baptiste Adolphe Gibert, in the State Depart- 
ment, Washington. 

Mrs. William Thornton 322 

After a water-color by Dr. Thornton, in the possession of J. Henley 
Smith, Washington. 

Dr. William Thornton 326 

After a water-color by himself in the possession of J. Henley Smith, 

Harriet Martineau 356 

Mrs. James Madison 380 

After a water-color by Dr. William Thornton. 


Fac-simile of Letter from Miss Martineau to 

Mrs. Smith 368 and 369 




Sunday evening, Nov. 16, 1800. 
. . . . I thought I was coming into a land of 
strangers; but with a husband so beloved, I hesitated 
not to leave the kindest of fathers and the most indulgent 
of friends. But, here in Mrs. Bell, have I met with a 
mother, for sure no daughter could be treated with more 
affection ; in Miss Thornhill and Eliza, sisters, and in Mr. 
English a most attentive brother. In Mr. and Mrs. Law, 
Cap. and Mrs. Tingey, 1 Mr. and Mrs. Otis, Dr. and Mrs. 
Thornton, 2 social and agreeable companions. In my last 
letter I mentioned that Mrs. Bell was to drink tea with 
me; the family all came and in my chamber, which I 
assure you looked very smart, we passed an agreeable 
afternoon and they were treated with my wedding cake. 
Mrs. B. brought with her a large basket of sweet potatoes 

1 Thomas Tingey, born in London, September II, 1750, an officer in 
the British Navy, came to America before the Revolution, served in the 
Continental Navy during the war, and in 1799 in the war with France. 
He was not in the Navy at the time Mrs. Smith met him, but was living 
in Washington as a private citizen. He was restored to the Navy in 1804 
and was continuously in command of the Navy Yard until his death in 
1829. He came to look upon the Yard as his property, and actually 
included the commandant's house in the property which he disposed of 
in his will. His first wife was Sarah Murdock, of Philadelphia. 

2 Dr. William Thornton was an Englishman born in the West Indies. 
He made the first accepted designs for the Capitol. He invented a flutter- 
wheel steamboat and accused Fulton of having wrongfully deprived him 
of it. He was the first Superintendent of the Patent Office, and a man of 
genius and rare social accomplishments. His wife was a Miss Bor- 
deaux, who had come to America from France. 


and some fine cabbages. Mr. St. Gemme, 1 a French 
gentleman of reduced fortunes, accompanied her; he 
teaches Eliza french and drawing, and from a piece he 
painted, certainly possesses much taste and delicacy. I 
found him so agreeable that I asked him to repeat his 
visit. Tuesday was a most delightful day, and Mr. S. 
and myself sallied forth. Between Capt. Tingey and us, 
there extends a plain of near half a mile, the ground is 
elevated and commands a most beautiful view of the 
Eastern Branch. I will not say we walked along this, 
the elasticity of the air had given such elasticity to my 
spirits that I could not walk. On reaching the house, 
we were received in a very friendly way; altho' we had 
so long neglected returning the visits of this family. The 
Capt. was not at home; we sat more than an hour with 
the ladies ; Mrs. T. is a good kind of a woman, and tho' 
not very agreeable, yet she appears very worthy; the 
girls seem good natured, but as yet I can say nothing 
more of them. Mrs. T. gave me some domestic informa- 
tion, bade me apply to her whenever I wanted advice, and 
to consider her as a mother. Said she was averse to 
form, and asked me to visit her in any way and at any 
hours. If I would ride, she would often call for me, as 
they always had a spare seat in the carriage. From 
there we walked to Mrs. Law's, 2 about a mile farther. 
She saw us from the windows and came to the door to 

1 Carre* De V. Gemme, afterwards chief of division in the prefecture, 
department of Charente. 

* Thomas Law, a brother of Lord Ellenborough, came to Washington 
in 1795 with the idea of making an enormous fortune by speculating in 
real estate. In 1796 he married Eliza Parke Custis, a descendant of 
Lord Baltimore and granddaughter of Mrs. Washington. They lived 
unhappily, separated in 1804, and were divorced a few years later. There 
were rumors that she loved the world and its admiration too much; but 
Mr. Law was himself an oddity. One of the stories about him is that 
going to the post office for his letters one day he could not remember his 
name till an acquaintance addressed him. 


meet us, took each by the hand and lead us in the parlour. 
We had sat only a few minutes when she said, "Lay down 
your hat Mr. Smith, we have a fine roast turkey, and you 
must stay and eat of it." Talking of conveniences in 
cooking, "Come," said she, "you are young housekeepers, 
come and look at my kitchen." She has a contrivance, 
more convenient than any I ever heard of and as you are 
in search of conveniences I will describe it. The chimney 
is six feet in width, in this is placed a thing called the 
Ranger, in the center is a grate, about two feet wide, on 
one side a place to boil in, which contains 6 or 8 gallons 
of water, on the other side a place of the same dimensions, 
for an oven, which opens in front, with a door, and has a 
shelf inside, so that two ranges of dishes can bake at 
the same time. Both the boiler and oven are heated by 
the pine in the grate; which at the same time can roast 
anything placed before it, and as many pots as you please 
can hang over it. The kitchen is well heated, and the oven 
and boiler are always of a uniform heat. Here, with a 
small quantity of coal, she has often cooked dinner for 
large companies. They are to be had at Baltimore. We 
left Mr. S. in the parlour, and she took me up stairs, where 
she was putting up curtains; I assisted her, went from 
room to room and we chatted like old acquaintance. Then 
while she dressed for dinner, I played with the little Eliza 
and her doll. The sweet little creature calls me aunt, and 
I am to call her my Mary Ann. When we went down to 
dinner, we found 4 or five gentlemen who had accidentally 
come in. Soon after Capt. Tingey's family joined us. 
Mr. Peter and Mr. Lewis her two brothers in law were of 
the party. Vivacity and good humour prevailed and our 
party was fifty times more agreeable than if we had all met 
by previous invitation. I have never met with any one 
so destitute of all form or ceremony as this sweet woman. 


After dinner, the gentlemen all dispersed and I was about 
accompanying Mr. S., but Mrs. Tingey told me if I would 
stay to tea, she would take me home in the carriage. I 
agreed, Mrs. L. amused herself with a magazine, and left 
us to amuse ourselves as we chose. I cut out and fitted 
a muslin frock for my adopted niece a la mode Mary Ann, 
while she played by my side, and the Tingey ladies talked 
with me. About an hour after dinner, before the table 
was removed, a servant brought in a waiter of shusheng 
tea and a few biscuits. When we parted, I had two sweet 
kisses from Mrs. Law, with an invitation frequently to 
repeat my visit and a promise of soon seeing me. Of 
Mr. Law, I say nothing, it is impossible to describe this 
man ; he is one of the strangest I ever met with ; all good 
nature and benevolence; his ruling passion is to serve 
every one, which keeps him perpetually busy, about 
others. Scarcely a day passes without his calling, and 
at all hours ; the other morning he was almost in the room 
before we were up. Cap. T. and Dr. May 1 subscribed 
to the paper, besides several of inferior note. Mr. S. 
received a letter from Lancaster, containing the names of 
32 subscribers, out of the Pens, legislature. We find 
that an acquaintance with the gentlemen of this place, is 
advantageous to him, and that the best way of getting 
business, is by being generally known, and by being con- 
nected with the most respectable people. Induced by this, 
he has subscribed to the dancing Assembly. 2 The cards, 
he is to print, will amount really to the subscription. 
Mrs. Tingey called for me the other day, to accompany 

1 Frederick May came to Washington in 1795 and was the father of 
the medical profession in the city. His son John Frederick May was 
the first Washington physician whose reputation extended beyond the 

2 The Washington Dancing Assembly was started by Mr. Law, Captain 
Tingey, Dr. May and other gentlemen of the city, and was the first 
organized effort to give some form to its social amusements. 


her to G. Town. After shopping we drove to Mrs. Bells, 
where as usual I met a most affectionate welcome. Bread, 
butter, ham and cakes were set before us, and when I 
came away my pockets were loaded with cake and apples ; 
a bottle of milk, one of yeast, a bundle of hops, were put 
in the carriage for me, with an injunction of applying 
for more, when these were gone. My good Betsy, con- 
tinues to do well ; always on coming home of an evening, 
I find the tea table set, the candles lighted and a good 
fire. I wish you could peep on us at this period. Mr. 
S. enjoys his tea so much, that it gives a double relish to 
mine. Poor Bibby notwithstanding her stupidity makes 
a nice kind of biscuit, she is always delighted when I ask 
her to make them, and if I give any of them to the young 
men, she says "Au now Misses, why you give away wat I 
make for you sel." Betsy too, desirous of trying her 
hand, made me this evening some very good short cakes. 
(What strange information to send 200 miles). 

This morning Mrs. Otis sent her carriage for us and 
we went to church, where a good sermon was preached to 
a small but respectable congret. After church Capt. T. 
Dr. May and Mrs. Foster came home with us, and I re- 
ceived them sans ceremonie in my chamber. As I have 
but little more to say, I will not begin another sheet. Mr. 
Paterson was here on Friday and was quite well. Re- 
member us to all our dear friends and bid them not to 
forget us. Farewell my dear Sisters. 


"And is this," said I, after my first interview with Mr. 
Jefferson, "the violent democrat, the vulgar demagogue, 

1 From Mrs. Smith's note book. It was written in 1837, ^ ut r ^' ate 5 
to her first arrival in Washington, 


the bold atheist and profligate man I have so often heard 
denounced by the federalists ? Can this man so meek and 
mild, yet dignified in his manners, with a voice so soft 
and low, with a countenance so benignant and intelligent, 
can he be that daring leader of a faction, that disturber 
of the peace, that enemy of all rank and order?" Mr. 
Smith, indeed, (himself a democrat) had given me a very 
different description of this celebrated individual ; but his 
favourable opinion I attributed in a great measure to his 
political feelings, which led him zealously to support and 
exalt the party to which he belonged, especially its popular 
and almost idolized leader. Thus the virulence of party- 
spirit was somewhat neutralized, nay, I even entertained 
towards him the most kindly dispositions, knowing him to 
be not only politically but personally friendly to my hus- 
band ; yet I did believe that he was an ambitious and vio- 
lent demagogue, coarse and vulgar in his manners, awk- 
ward and rude in his appearance, for such had the public 
journals and private conversations of the federal party 
represented him to be. 1 

In December, 1800, a few days after Congress had for 
the first time met in our new Metropolis, I was one morn- 
ing sitting alone in che parlour, when the servant opened 
the door and showed in a gentleman who wished to see 
my husband. The usual frankness and care with which 
I met strangers, were somewhat checked by the dignified 
and reserved air of the present visitor; but the chilled 
feeling was only momentary, for after taking the chair I 
offered him in a free and easy manner, and carelessly 
throwing his arm on the table near which he sat, he 
turned towards me a countenance beaming with an ex- 
pression of benevolence and with a manner and voice al- 
most femininely soft and gentle, entered into conversation 
"Col. John Bayard, Mrs. Smith's father, was a federalist. 

Colonel John Bayard, father of Margaret Bayard. 

A famous Revolutionary officer, Speaker of the Pennsylvania 
Assembly, and Member of the Continental Congress. 


on the commonplace topics of the day, from which, before 
I was conscious of it, he had drawn me into observa- 
tions of a more personal and interesting nature. I know 
not how it was, but there was something in his manner, 
his countenance and voice that at once unlocked my heart, 
and in answer to his casual enquiries concerning our sit- 
uation in our new home, as he called it, I found myself 
frankly telling him what I liked or disliked in our present 
circumstances and abode. I knew not who he was, but 
the interest with which he listened to my artless details, 
induced the idea he was some intimate acquaintance or 
friend of Mr. Smith's and put me perfectly at my ease; 
in truth so kind and conciliating were his looks and man- 
ners that I forgot he was not a friend of my own, until on 
the opening of the door, Mr. Smith entered and intro- 
duced the stranger to me as Mr. Jefferson. 

I felt my cheeks burn and my heart throb, and not a 
word more could I speak while he remained. Nay, such 
was my embarrassment I could scarcely listen to the con- 
versation carried on between him and my husband. For 
several years he had been to me an object of peculiar in- 
terest. In fact my destiny, for on his success in the pend- 
ing presidential election, or rather the success of the dem- 
ocratic party, (their interests were identical) my condition 
in life, my union with the man I loved, depended. In 
addition to this personal interest, I had long participated 
in my husband's political sentiments and anxieties, and 
looked upon Mr. Jefferson as the corner stone on which 
the edifice of republican liberty was to rest, looked upon 
him as the champion of human rights, the reformer of 
abuses, the head of the republican party, which must rise 
or fall with him, and on the triumph of the republican 
party I devoutly believed the security and welfare of my 
country depended. Notwithstanding those exalted views 


of Mr. Jefferson as a political character; and ardently 
eager as I was for his success, I retained my previously 
conceived ideas of the coarseness and vulgarity of his 
appearance and manners and was therefore equally awed 
and surprised, on discovering the stranger whose deport- 
ment was so dignified and gentlemanly, whose language 
was so refined, whose voice was so gentle, whose coun- 
tenance was so benignant, to be no other than Thomas 
Jefferson. How instantaneously were all these precon- 
ceived prejudices dissipated, and in proportion to their 
strength, was the reaction that took place in my opinions 
and sentiments. I felt that I had been the victim of 
prejudice, that I had been unjust. The revolution of 
feeling was complete and from that moment my heart 
warmed to him with the most affectionate interest and I 
implicitly believed all that his friends and my husband be- 
lieved and which the after experience of many years con- 
firmed. Yes, not only was he great, but a truly good man ! 

The occasion of his present visit, was to make arrange- 
ments with Mr. Smith for the publication of his Man- 
ual for Congress, now called Jefferson's manual. The 
original was in his own neat, plain, but elegant hand 
writing. The manuscript was as legible as printing and 
its unadorned simplicity was emblematical of his char- 
acter. It is still preserved by Mr. Smith and valued as 
a precious relique. 

After the affair of business was settled, the conversa- 
tion became general and Mr. Jefferson several times 
addressed himself to me; but although his manner was 
unchanged, my feelings were, and I could not recover 
sufficient ease to join in the conversation. He shook 
hands cordially with us both when he departed, and in 
a manner which said as plain as words could do, "I am 
your friend. ,, 


During part of the time that Mr. Jefferson was Presi- 
dent of the Philosophical Society (in Philadelphia) Mr. 
Smith was its secretary. A prize offered by the society 
for the best system of national education, was gained by 
Mr. Smith. The merit of this essay, first attracted the 
notice of Mr. J. to its author ; the personal acquaintance 
which then took place, led to a friendly intercourse which 
influenced the future destiny of my husband, as it was 
by Mr. Jefferson's advice, that he removed to Washing- 
ton and established the National Intelligencer. Esteem 
for the talents and character of the editor first won Mr. 
Jefferson's regard, a regard which lasted to the end of his 
life and was a thousand times evinced by acts of personal 
kindness and confidence. 

At this time Mr. Jefferson was vice-President and in 
nomination for the Presidency. Our infant city afforded 
scant accommodations for the members of Congress. 
There were few good boarding-houses, but Mr. Jefferson 
was fortunate enough to obtain one of the best. Thomas 
Law one of the wealthiest citizens and largest proprietors 
of city property, had just finished for his own use a com- 
modious and handsome house on Capitol hill; this, on 
discovering the insufficiency of accommodation, he gave 
up to Conrad for a boarding house, and removed to a 
very inconvenient dwelling on Greenleaf's point, almost 
two miles distant from the Capitol. 1 And here while I 
think of it, though somewhat out of place, I will mention 
an incident that occurred which might have changed the 
whole aspect of the political world and have disappointed 
the long and deep laid plans of politicians, so much do 
great events depend on trivial accidents. This out-of-the- 
way-house to which Mr. Law removed, was separated 
from the most inhabited part of the city by old fields and 
waste grounds broken up by deep gulleys or ravines over 


which there was occasionally a passable road. The elec- 
tion of President by Congress was then pending, one vote 
given or withheld would decide the question between Mr. 
Jefferson and Mr. Burr. Mr. Bayard from Delaware held 
that vote. He with other influential and leading mem- 
bers went to a ball given by Mr. Law. The night was 
dark and rainy, and on their attempt to return home, the 
coachman lost his way, and until daybreak was driving 
about this waste and broken ground and if not over- 
turned into the deep gullies was momentarily in danger 
of being so, an accident which would most probably have 
cost some of the gentlemen their lives, and as it so 
happened that the company in the coach consisted of 
Mr. Bayard and three other members of Congress who 
had a leading and decisive influence in this difficult 
crisis of public affairs, the loss of either, might have 
turned the scales, then so nicely poised. Had it been so, 
and Mr. Burr been elected to the Presidency, what an 
awful conflict, what civil commotions would have ensued. 
Conrad's boarding house was on the south side of Cap- 
itol hill and commanded an extensive and beautiful view. 
It was on the top of the hill, the precipitous sides of which 
were covered with grass, shrubs and trees in their wild 
uncultivated state. Between the foot of the hill and the 
broad Potomac extended a wide plain, through which the 
Tiber wound its way. The romantic beauty of this little 
stream was not then deformed by wharves or other works 
of art. Its banks were shaded with tall and umbrageous 
forest trees of every variety, among which the superb 
Tulep-Poplar rose conspicuous ; the magnolia, the azalia, 
the hawthorn, the wild-rose and many other indigenous 
shrubs grew beneath their shade, while violets, anemonies 
and a thousand other sweet wood-flowers found shelter 
among their roots, from the winter's frost and greeted 


with the earliest bloom the return of spring. The wild 
grape-vine climbing from tree to tree hung in unpruned 
luxuriance among the branches of the trees and formed 
a fragrant and verdant canopy over the greensward, im- 
pervious to the noon day-sun. Beautiful banks of Tiber ! 
delightful rambles ! happy hours ! How like a dream do 
ye now appear. Those trees, those shrubs, those flowers 
are gone. Man and his works have displaced the charms 
of nature. The poet, the botanist, the sportsman and the 
lover who once haunted those paths must seek far hence 
the shades in which they delight. Not only the banks of 
the Tiber, but those of the Potomack and Anacosta, were 
at this period adorned with native trees and shrubs and 
were distinguished by as romantic scenery as any rivers in 
our country. Indeed the whole plain was diversified with 
groves and clumps of forest trees which gave it the 
appearance of a fine park. Such as grew on the public 
grounds ought to have been preserved, but in a govern- 
ment such as ours, where the people are sovereign, this 
could not be done. The people, the poorer inhabitants 
cut down these noble and beautiful trees for fuel. In one 
single night seventy tulip-Poplars were girdled, by which 
process life is destroyed and afterwards cut up at their 
leisure by the people. Nothing afflicted Mr. Jefferson 
like this wanton destruction of the fine trees scattered over 
the city-grounds. I remember on one occasion (it was 
after he was President) his exclaiming "How I wish that 
I possessed the power of a despot." The company at 
table stared at a declaration so opposed to his disposition 
and principles. "Yes," continued he, in reply to their 
inquiring looks, "I wish I was a despot that I might save 
the noble, the beautiful trees that are daily falling sacri- 
fices to the cupidity of their owners, or the necessity of the 


"And have you not authority to save those on the 
public grounds?" asked one of the company. "No," 
answered Mr. J., "only an armed guard could save them. 
The unnecessary felling of a tree, perhaps the growth of 
centuries seems to me a crime little short of murder, it 
pains me to an unspeakable degree." x 

It was partly from this love of nature, that he selected 
Conrad's boarding house, being there able to enjoy the 
beautiful and extensive prospect described above. Here 
he had a separate drawing-room for the reception of his 
visitors ; in all other respects he lived on a perfect equal- 
ity with his fellow boarders, and eat at a common table. 
Even here, so far from taking precedence of the other 
members of Congress, he always placed himself at the 
lowest end of the table. Mrs. Brown, the wife of the 
senator from Kentucky, suggested that a seat should 
be offered him at the upper end, near the fire, if not on 
account of his rank as vice-President, at least as the 
oldest man in company. But the idea was rejected by 
his democratic friends, and he occupied during the whole 
winter the lowest and coldest seat at a long table at which 
a company of more than thirty sat down. Even on the 
day of his inauguration when he entered the dining-hall 
no other seat was offered him by the gentlemen. Mrs. 
Brown from an impulse which she said she could not 
resist, offered him her seat, but he smilingly declined it, 
and took his usual place at the bottom of the table. She 
said she felt indignant and for a moment almost hated 
the levelling principle of democracy, though her husband 
was a zealous democrat. Certainly this was carrying 
equality rather too far; there is no incompatibility be- 
tween politeness and republicanism ; grace cannot weaken 
and rudeness cannot strengthen a good cause, but democ- 
x This anecdote is given in "A Winter in Washington," Vol. II, p. 40. 


racy is more jealous of power and priviledge than even 

At this time the only place for public worship in our 
new-city was a small, a very small frame building at the 
bottom of Capitol-hill. It had been a tobacco-house be- 
longing to Daniel Carrol 1 and was purchased by a few 
Episcopalians for a mere trifle and fitted up as a church 
in the plainest and rudest manner. During the first 
winter, Mr. Jefferson regularly attended service on the 
sabbath-day in the humble church. The congregation 
seldom exceeded 50 or 60, but generally consisted of 
about a score of hearers. He could have had no motive 
for this regular attendance, but that of respect for public 
worship, choice of place or preacher he had not, as this, 
with the exception of a little Catholic chapel was the only 
church in the new city. The custom of preaching in the 
Hall of Representatives had not then been attempted, 
though after it was established Mr. Jefferson during 
his whole administration, was a most regular attendant. 
The seat he chose the first sabbath, and the adjoining one, 
which his private secretary occupied, were ever after- 
wards by the courtesy of the congregation, left for him 
and his secretary. I have called these Sunday assemblies 
in the capitol, a congregation, but the almost exclusive 
appropriation of that word to religious assemblies, pre- 
vents its being a descriptive term as applied in the present 
case, since the gay company who thronged the H. R. 
looked very little like a religious assembly. The occasion 
presented for display was not only a novel, but a favour- 
able one for the youth, beauty and fashion of the city, 

1 This was Daniel Carroll, of Duddington Manor; not Daniel Carroll 
of Upper Marlborough, who signed the constitution, was a member of 
the first congress and a commissioner of the District. Historians usually 
confound the two. Mrs. Smith's spelling of proper names and her other 
spelling also has been preserved in the text. 


Georgetown and environs. The members of Congress, 
gladly gave up their seats for such fair auditors, and either 
lounged in the lobbies, or round the fire places, or stood 
beside the ladies of their acquaintance. This sabbath- 
day-resort became so fashionable, that the floor of the 
house offered insufficient space, the platform behind the 
Speaker's chair, and every spot where a chair could be 
wedged in was crowded with ladies in their gayest cos- 
tume and their attendant beaux and who led them to their 
seats with the same gallantry as is exhibited in a ball 
room. Smiles, nods, whispers, nay sometimes tittering 
marked their recognition of each other, and beguiled the 
tedium of the service. Often, when cold, a lady would 
leave her seat and led by her attending beau would make 
her way through the crowd to one of the fire-places where 
she could laugh and talk at her ease. One of the officers 
of the house, followed by his attendant with a great bag 
over his shoulder, precisely at 12 o'clock, would make his 
way through the hall to the depository of letters to 
put them in the mail-bag, which sometimes had a most 
ludicrous effect, and always diverted attention from the 
preacher. The musick was as little in union with devo- 
tional feelings, as the place. The marine-band, were the 
performers. Their scarlet uniform, their various instru- 
ments, made quite a dazzling appearance in the gallery. 
The marches they played were good and inspiring, but 
in their attempts to accompany the psalm-singing of the 
congregation, they completely failed and after a while, 
the practice was discontinued, — it was too ridiculous. 

Not only the chaplains, but the most distinguished 
clergymen who visited the city, preached in the Capitol. 
I remember hearing Mr. E. Everet, afterwards a member 
of Congress, deliver an eloquent and flowery discourse, 
to a most thronged and admiring audience. But as a 


political orator he afterwards became far more eloquent 
and admired. Preachers of every sect and denomination 
of christians were there admitted — Catholics, Unitarians, 
Quakers with every intervening diversity of sect. Even 
women were allowed to display their pulpit eloquence, in 
this national Hall. 

When Frederick the Great commenced his reign, in 
order to enforce universal tolleration in religion, he 
formed a plan which he believed would promote harmony 
between the different and numerous religious sects. This 
was to erect a spacious Edefice, or temple, in which at 
different hours the public service of all, and each of the 
christian denominations might be performed. He dis- 
cussed this subject with Voltair, who with some difficulty 
convinced him of its impracticability, and that the relig- 
ious prejudices which divided christians, were too strong 
to be conquered by either reason or despotic power. In 
the Capitol the idea of this philosophic monarch has been 
realized, without coercion; without combination. As 
Congress is composed of christians of every persuasion, 
each denomination in its turn has supplied chaplains to 
the two houses of Congress, who preach alternately in the 
Hall of Representatives. Some opposition was made 
both to a Roman Catholic and Unitarian, but did not 
succeed. Clergymen, who during the session of Con- 
gress visited the city, were invited by the chaplains to 
preach; those of distinguished reputation attracted 
crowded audiences and were evidently gratified by hav- 
ing such an opportunity for the exercise of their talents 
and their zeal. The admission of female preachers, has 
been justly reprobated: curiosity rather than piety at- 
tracted throngs on such occasions. The levity which 
characterized the sabbath-day assemblies in the capitol in 
former years, has long yielded to a more decorous and 


reverent demeanor. The attendance of the marine-band 
was soon discontinued, and various regulations made, 
which have secured a serious and uninterrupted attention 
to the religious services of the day. 

For several years after the seat of government was 
fixed at Washington, there were but two small churches. 
The roman-catholic chapel in F. street, then a little frame 
building, and the Episcopalian church at the foot of Cap- 
itol-hill; both, very small and mean frame buildings. 
Now, in 1837 there are 22 churches of brick or stone. 
Sunday used to be the universal day for visits and enter- 
tainments. Only a few, very few of the gayest citizens 
now, either pay or receive visits. There was one sermon 
delivered by Mr. Breckenridge at the commencement of 
the war that was deemed quite prophetic — whether in- 
spired or not, his predictions were certainly and accurately 
fulfilled. This pious and reverend preacher, made up in 
zeal and fidelity, what he lacked in natural talents or 
acquired knowledge, and in the plainest and boldest 
language of reprehension addressed the members of Con- 
gress and officers of government present on that occasion. 
The subject of his discourse was the observance of the 
Sabbath. After enlarging on its prescribed duties, he 
vehemently declaimed on the neglect of those duties, par- 
ticularly by the higher classes and in this city, more es- 
pecially by persons connected with the government. He 
unshrinkingly taxed those then listening to him, with a 
desecration of this holy day, by their devoting it to amuse- 
ment — to visiting and parties, emphatically condemning 
the dinner-parties given at the white-house, then address- 
ing himself to the members of Congress, accused them 
of violating the day, by laws they had made, partic- 
ularly the carrying the mail on the sabbath; he en- 
numerated the men and horses employed for this purpose 


through the union and went into details striking and 

"It is not the people who will suffer, for these enormi- 
ties," said he, "you, the law-givers, who are the cause of 
this crime, will in your public capacity suffer for it. Yes, 
it is the government that will be punished, and as, with 
Nineveh of old, it will not be the habitations of the people, 
but your temples and your palaces that will be burned to 
the ground ; for it is by fire that this sin has usually been 
punished." He then gave many instances from scripture 
history in which destruction by fire of cities, dwellings 
and persons, had been the consequence of violating the 
Fourth commandment. 

At the time this sermon was preached, the most remote 
apprehension did not exist of a British army ever reach- 
ing Washington, although war was impending. His pre- 
dictions were verified. The Capitol, the President's 
House, and every building belonging to the government 
were destroyed and that by fire. Mrs. Madison told me 
that on her return to the city, after the British had left it, 
she was standing one day at her sister's door, for she had 
no house of her own, but until one was provided by the 
public, resided with her sister, and while there, looking 
on the devastation that spread around, saw Mr. Brecken- 
ridge passing along, she called to him and said, "I little 
thought, Sir, when I heard that threatening sermon of 
yours, that its denunciation would so soon be realized." 
"Oh, Madam," he replied, "I trust this chastening of the 
Lord, may not be in vain." 

I am afraid the good man's hopes were never realized, 
for as far as I recollect, there was not for many, many 
years afterwards any change in the observance of the 



January i , 1 80 1 . 
. . . The other evening, Mrs., Miss Tingey and 
the Capt, Dr. May, (our Physician, an amiable handsome 
young man) Genl. Van Courtland 2 and Mr. Holmes, 3 
sans ceremonie passed the evening with us, and were very 
merry over the successive dishes of fine oysters. Capt. T. 
sings a good song, his wife and daughters accompany 
him. As not one of these folks were either scientific or 
sentimental, these songs very agreeably supplied the place 
of conversation. Our company all appeared to enjoy 
themselves, and therefore I was quite content. Mrs. Tin- 
gey and the girls are most truly friendly, they are con- 
stantly urging our visiting them in a social way, and they 
set us a good example by often visiting us. . . . Mrs. 
Law has been absent for some time and I have only seen 
her once, within 6 weeks ; excepting the evening I passed 
with her at the last assembly. Mrs. Law, Mrs. Tingey, 
Mrs. Otis, Brown, and Bailey, 4 from N. Y. and myself sat 
together the whole evening ; seated between Mrs. Brown 
and Law, and occasionally talking to different gentlemen, 
my time passed more agreeably, than if I had danced. I 
could not help wishing for you, my dear Susan; to ac- 
company me ; I should have derived much pleasure from 
seeing you in the dance; especially with such a partner, 
as the beautiful, graceful and all accomplished Genl. Van 
Courtland, who with his powdered wig, made a most 
conspicuous figure in the room. The first time I observed 
him was from Mrs. Law's pinching me and asking in a 

1 Mr. Smith's younger sister. 

2 Philip Van Cortlandt, of Cortlandt Manor, N. Y., a Representative. 

3 David Holmes, a Representative from Virginia; afterwards Senator 
from Mississippi. 

4 Wife of Theodoras Bailey, of Dutchess Co., a Representative. 


low voice "If that gentleman was a relation of mine." 
"A relation of mine I" repeated I with astonishment, "why 
I hope you do not think so from any likeness that exists ?" 
"No," said she, smiling, "I only wanted the liberty of 
laughing at him." And to be sure, his erect attitudes, 
and studied motions made us think he had taken lessons of 
some antique dancing Gentleman, of the yr. one. There 
was a lady, too, who afforded us great diversion, I titled 
her, Madam Eve, and called her dress the fig leaf. Next 
Winter my dear Sister I trust I shall enjoy the satis- 
faction, of dressing your flaxen locks, (let Sister Mary 
say what she will, they certainly must be curled) and 
ornament your person. Whenever our plains are adorned 
by Spring, and our woods have regained their leafy hon- 
ors, I shall expect you and Sister Mary here to participate 
in the pleasures of that delightful season. If such a 
thing is possible, I am determined you shall both like 
Washington, as well as you do Abington. If warm af- 
fection and sincere friendship, can render an abode com- 
fortable and happy, then my dear sisters will you be both 
comfortable and happy in the house of your affection- 
ate Brother. Mr. St. Gemmes, passed most of this even- 
ing with us. To me, his society is more interesting and 
pleasing than any I have met with in this place. He has 
no striking or prominent traits of character and differs 
from other Frenchmen by more solidity and sobriety of 
manner. Mary will like him and will, I predict, have 
many long and interesting confabulations. He, Mr. 
Foster, Mr. and Mrs. Brown, are our weekly visitors. 
The other afternoon, these, together with Mr. and Mrs. 
Bailey and Mr. Nicholas, 1 drank tea here. They were a 
sober set, and we discussed sober and interesting subjects. 

1 Wilson Cary Nicholas, Senator from Virginia, probably the ablest man 
in Congress. 


I do not think, Susan, you would have been highly de- 
lighted, and as for Mr. Nicholas (I mean the Senator) he 
may be a man of fine talents, but that of conversation is 
not among the number. His manners were so benumb- 
ing, that I could scarcely make my tongue move. Many 
other gentlemen of congress occasionally visit us, but as 
one of our rich, great men here, observed, they are just 
like other men, and so they are not worth individual 
notice. This old gentleman, this great, rich man, has 
passed his life within this territory, and when the Mem- 
bers of Congress arrived, he went to look at them and 
told Mr. Law he saw no difference between them and 
other men, they were made alike, had the same kind of 
faces and talked as they did ! 

We were this evening informd that the apples and 
butter had arrived, and I promise you they shall receive 
a sincere welcome, and be treated with the greatest dis- 
tinction. I am every day more and more pleased with 
Betsy. She is one of the smartest and most attentive 
servants I have ever met with. She never waits for me 
to tell her to do her work; but takes pride in doing it 
well. She has a great deal of pride, but if I can but 
make it an instrument of industry and order, I shall 
begin to think the better of it. My old man and woman, 
are equally faithful and industrious. In fact I have no 
kind of trouble. Dear Susan I wish you were as happy. 

I believe I have more than answered all your questions, 
and I have only now to beg of you, not to let our friends 
forget us, and to assure them that they are remembered 
by us. I am determined you shall not pay postage for 
nothing. It is now past n o'clock; your brother half 
asleep is chewing a biscuit and I, half awake, bid you a 
good night and pleasant dreams. 

Aaron Burr. 

From a portrait by John Vanderlyn, in the possession of 
Pierrepont Edwards, Elizabeth, N. J. 



February, 1801. 

It was a day, "big with our country's fate" — a fate not 
suspended on the triumph or defeat of two contending 
armies, drawn forth in battle array — but on two contend- 
ing political Parties, who after years of conflict, were 
new brought to issue. The power, which had been origi- 
nally vested in the Federal party, had been gradually 
diminished by the force of public opinion, and transferred 
to the Democratic Party. For a while equality of power 
was maintained — but the equipoise did not last long, — a 
great and preponderating majority in the Presidential 
election, decided the relative strength of parties, the Dem- 
ocrats prevailed and brought into oflice, on the full-tide 
of popularity, the man who had been long recognized as 
the head of their Party. 

According to the constitutional form, two men were to 
be run, the one for President, the other for vice President, 
and he who had the greatest number of votes was to be 
President. Such was the form of the law of election, but 
in the execution of that law, the people knowingly desig- 
nated the vice-President, and voted for him concurrently 
with the President ; this produced an unlooked for result 
and a constitutional difficulty. In the minds or inclina- 
tions of the people, there had been no misapprehensions, 
no dubiousness of choice. They as manifestly gave their 
votes for Mr. Jefferson as President and Mr. Burr as vice- 
President, as if each vote had been accompanied with such 
a designation. With this understanding the votes for 
one were as unanimous as the votes for the other, and the 
result, of course, an equality. In this unlooked for emer- 
1 From the note book. 


gency what was to be done? The constitution decided. 
The choice of President was to be made by Congress. 

There was not a shadow of doubt or uncertainty as to 
the object of the people's choice. It had been proclaimed 
too widely and too loudly for any individual to remain 
ignorant of the fact. 

But this accidental and uncalculated result, gave the 
Federal party a chance of preventing the election of a 
man they politically abhorred — a man whose weight of 
influence had turned the scale in favour of the opposing 
Party. No means were left unattempted (perhaps I 
ought to say no honest means) to effect this measure. 

It was an aweful crises. The People who with such 
an overwhelming majority had declared their will would 
never peaceably have allowed the man of their choice to be 
set aside, and the individual they had chosen as vice-Pres- 
ident, to be put in his place. A civil war must have taken 
place, to be terminated in all human probability by a rup- 
ture of the Union. Such consequences were at least cal- 
culated on, and excited a deep and inflammatory interest. 
Crowds of anxious spirits from the adjacent county and 
cities thronged to the seat of government and hung like a 
thunder cloud over the Capitol, their indignation ready 
to burst on any individual who might be designated as 
President in opposition to the people's known choice. 
The citizens of Baltimore who from their proximity, were 
the first apprised of this daring design, were with diffi- 
culty restrained from rushing on with an armed force, to 
prevent, — or if they could not prevent, to avenge this 
violation of the People's will and in their own vehement 
language, to hurl the usurper from his seat. Mr. Jeffer- 
son, then President of the Senate, sitting in the midst of 
these conspirators, as they were then called, unavoidably 
hearing their loudly whispered designs, witnessing their 


gloomy and restless machinations, aware of the dreadful 
consequences, which must follow their meditated designs, 
preserved through this trying period the most unclouded 
serenity, the most perfect equanimity. A spectator who 
watched his countenance, would never have surmised, that 
he had any personal interest in the impending event. 
Calm and self possessed, he retained his seat in the midst 
of the angry and stormy, though half smothered passions 
that were struggling around him, and by this dignified 
tranquility repressed any open violence — tho' insufficient 
to prevent whispered menaces and insults, to these how- 
ever he turned a deaf ear, and resolutely maintained a 
placidity which baffled the designs of his enemies. 

The crisis was at hand. The two bodies of Congress 
met, the Senators as witnesses the Representatives as 
electors. The question on which hung peace or war, nay, 
the Union of the States was to be decided. What an 
awful responsibility was attached to every vote given on 
that occasion. The sitting was held with closed doors. 
It lasted the whole day, the whole night. Not an in- 
dividual left that solemn assembly, the necessary refresh- 
ment they required was taken in rooms adjoining the 
Hall. They were not like the Roman conclave legally 
and forcibly confined, the restriction was self-imposed 
from the deep-felt necessity of avoiding any extrinsic or 
external influence. Beds, as well as food were sent, for 
the accommodation of those whom age or debility dis- 
abled from enduring such a long protracted sitting — the 
ballotting took place every hour — in the interval men ate, 
drank, slept or pondered over the result of the last 
ballot, compared ideas and persuasions to change votes, 
or gloomily anticipated the consequences,, let the result 
be what it would. 

With what an intense interest did every individual 


watch each successive examination of the Ballot-box, how 
breathlessly did they listen to the counting of the votes! 
Every hour a messenger brought to the Editor of the N. I. 1 
the result of the Ballot. That night I never lay down 
or closed my eyes. As the hour drew near its close, my 
heart would almost audibly beat and I was seized with a 
tremour that almost disabled me from opening the door 
for the expected messenger. 

What then must have been the feelings of that Heroic 
woman, who had assented to her almost dying husband 
being carried in this cold inclement season, the distance 
of nearly two miles, from his lodgings to the capitol ? 

In a room adjacent to the Hall of R, he lay on a bed 
beside which she knelt supporting his head on her arm, 
while with her hand she guided his, in writing the name 
of the man of his choice. At the return of each hour the 
invalid was roused from his disturbed slumber, much to 
the injury of his health, to perform this important duty. 
What anxiety must this fond wife have endured, what a 
dread responsibility did she take on herself, knowing as 
she did and having been appealed to by his physicians, to 
resist his wish to go, that her husband's life was risked, by 
his removal from his chamber and the following scene. 2 
But it was for her country ! And the American equalled 
in courage and patriotism the Roman matron. 

For more than thirty hours the struggle was main- 
tained, but finding the republican phalanx impenetrable, 
not to be shaken in their purpose, every effort proving un- 
availing, the Senator from Delaware [James A. Bayard] 3 
the withdrawal of whose vote would determine the issue, 
took his part, gave up his party, for his country, and 

1 National Intelligencer. 

'Joseph Hopper Nicholson of Maryland was the member. He was 
carried to the House through a snow storm. 
3 Mrs. Smith's first cousin and adopted brother. He was a Representative. 

James A. Bayard, Senator from Delaware. 

From an engraving of the original painting by Wertmuller. 


threw into the box a blank ballot, thus leaving to the re- 
publicans a majority. Mr. Jefferson was declared duly 
elected. The assembled crowds, without the Capitol, 
rent the air with their acclamations and gratulations, and 
the Conspirators as they were called, hurried to their 
lodgings under strong apprehensions of suffering from 
the just indignation of their fellow citizens. 

The dark and threatening cloud which had hung over 
the political horrison, rolled harmlessly away, and the 
sunshine of prosperity and gladness broke forth and ever 
since, with the exception of a few passing clouds has con- 
tinued to shine on our happy country. 


March 4, 1801. 

Let me write to you my dear Susan, e'er that glow of 
enthusiasm has fled, which now animates my feelings ; let 
me congratulate not only you, but all my fellow citizens, 
on an event which will have so auspicious an influence 
on their political welfare. I have this morning witnessed 
one of the most interesting scenes, a free people can ever 
witness. The changes of administration, which in every 
government and in every age have most generally 
been epochs of confusion, villainy and bloodshed, in this 
our happy country take place without any species of dis- 
traction, or disorder. This day, has one of the most 
amiable and worthy men taken that seat to which he was 
called by the voice of his country. I cannot describe the 
agitation I felt, while I looked around on the various 
multitude and while I listened to an address, containing 
principles the most correct, sentiments the most liberal, 
and wishes the most benevolent, conveyed in the most 


appropriate and elegant language and in a manner mild 
as it was firm. If doubts of the integrity and talents 
of Mr. Jefferson ever existed in the minds of any one, 
methinks this address must forever eradicate them. The 
Senate chamber was so crowded that I believe not another 
creature could enter. On one side of the house the Sen- 
ate sat, the other was resigned by the representatives to 
the ladies. The roof is arched, the room half circle, every 
inch of ground was occupied. It has been conjectured by 
several gentlemen whom I've asked, that there were near 
a thousand persons within the walls. The speech was 
delivered in so low a tone that few heard it. Mr. Jefferson 
had given your Brother a copy early in the morning, 1 so 
that on coming out of the house, the paper was distributed 
immediately. Since then there has been a constant suc- 
cession of persons coming for the papers. I have been 
interrupted several times in this letter by the gentlemen 
of Congress, who have been to bid us their adieus ; since 
three o'clock there has been a constant succession. Mr. 
Claibourn, 2 a most amiable and agreeable man, called the 
moment before his departure and there is no one whose 
society I shall more regret the loss of. You will smile 
when I tell you that Gouveneur Morris, Mr. Dayton and 
Bayard 3 drank tea here; they have just gone after sitting 
near two hours. 

Mr. Foster will be the bearer of this letter; he is a 
widower, looking out for a wife ; he is a man of respect- 
able talents, and most amiable disposition and comfortable 

1 The original in Jefferson's handwriting is among the papers of Mr. J. 
Henley Smith; also his second inaugural address in his handwriting and 

2 William Charles Cole Claiborn, Representative from Virginia, had just 
been appointed Governor of Mississippi. 

3 All three being strong Federalists and the National Intelligencer a. 
Republican paper. Jonathan Dayton was then a Senator from New 
Jersey, and James A. Bayard Representative from Delaware* 


fortune. What think you my good sister Mary of set- 
ting your cap for him? As for you, Susan, you are 
rather too young, and I have another in my eye for 
you. One recommendation Mr. F. will have in your 
eyes, that he has been this winter on the most social and 
friendly terms with us, seen us very often and can tell 
you a great deal about us. 

I trust my dear sisters we shall see you soon after you 
receive this letter. I have been so often interrupted while 
writing it, that I have felt inclined to throw it aside, but as 
I have a great many more letters to write by Mr. Foster, 
I must let you take it as it is. How is Mrs. Higginson ? 
I wish to hear particularly something about her. If I 
had not so many correspondents already, I should ask 
communications from herself. I have written this in a 
hasty and desultory manner. Adieu. 


May 26, 1801. 
. . . Our City, is now as gay as in the winter ; the 
arrival of all the secretaries, seems to give new anima- 
tion to business, and the settlements of their families, 
affords employment to some of our tradesmen. Mrs. 
Gallatin 1 is in our neighborhood at present, she is. ex- 
tremely friendly and seems to consider me as her most 
intimate friend. I see her often and have spent two or 
three mornings visiting and shopping with her. The 
house Mr. G. has taken is next door to the Madisons' 
and three miles distant from us. 2 I regret this circum- 
stance, as it will prevent that intimate intercourse which 

1 She was Hannah Nicholson, of New York, daughter of Commodore 

2 The house is still standing on the north side of M. St., near 326*. 


I wished to enjoy, with her and Maria N. 1 Mrs. Madi- 
son is at the President's at present; I have become 
acquainted with and am highly pleased with her; she 
has good humour and sprightliness, united to the most 
affable and agreeable manners. I admire the simplicity 
and mildness of Mr. M.'s manners, and his smile has so 
much benevolence in it, that it cannot fail of inspiring 
good will and esteem. Genl. Dearborn, 2 we have also 
for our neighbour, he some times visits us and his con- 
versation is so intelligent, and filled with so many useful 
observations, that he is a most agreeable companion. 
These I believe are all the additions we have had to our 
society, since my last letter; I was prevented calling on 
the ladies at Mr. Meredith's 3 until yesterday, when I 
found no one at home. During the last week I was quite 
a prisoner for the want of a carriage, as we could pro- 
cure none; I regretted this more on Brother John's ac- 
count than on my own. He and sister Margaret left me 
this morning, after a visit of 2 days. Mr. Meyers, tho' 
lodging at a tavern, has passed all his time with us. 
He takes a book and goes out among the trees, where he 
sits most of the day. On Saturday last we dined at the 
President's. The company was small, and on that ac- 
count the more agreeable ; he has company every day, and 
seldom more than twelve at table. I happen'd to be 
seated next to him and had the pleasure of his conversa- 
tion on several subjects. 

Your Brother waits for this, I must therefore abruptly 
bid you good-night. 

1 Maria Nicholson, Mrs. Gallatin's sister. 
1 Henry Dearborn, Secretary of War. 
8 Samuel Meredith, Treasurer. 



May 28, Thursday, 1801. 
. . . . Since I last wrote I have formed quite a 
social acquaintance with Mrs. Madison and her sister; 2 
indeed it is impossible for an acquaintance with them to 
be different. Mr. Smith and I dined at the President's, — 
he has company every day, but his table is seldom laid 
for more than twelve. This prevents all form and makes 
the conversation general and unreserved. I happened 
to sit next to Mr. Jefferson and was confirmed in my 
prepossessions in his favour, by his easy, candid and gen- 
tle manners. Before and after dinner Mrs. Cranch 3 and 
myself sat in the drawing-room with Mrs. M. and her 
sister, whose social dispositions soon made us well ac- 
quainted with each other. About six o'clock the gentle- 
men joined us, but Mr. Jefferson's and Madison's 
manners were so easy and familiar that they produced 
no restraint. Never were there a plainer set of men, and 
I think I may add a more virtuous and enlightened one, 
than at present forms our administration. Genl. Dear- 
born and Gallatin being in our neighbourhood, visit us 
as neighbours. Mrs. Carrol, the neighbour I last men- 
tioned, has grown quite attentive, within the last week, 
she has spent an afternoon and morning with me, and 
has at several times sent me salad and asparagus, and 
what I still more highly value, large bunches of fine roses 
and magnolias. 

x Mrs. Smith's younger sister. 

2 Anna Payne, who married Richard D. Cutts in 1804. 

3 Wife of Judge William Cranch, then Junior Assistant Judge of the 
Circuit Court of the District of Columbia. 



Washington City, July 5, 1801. 

My Dear Sister. 

Mr. Craven, a neighbour and acquaintance of ours, 
departing for Phila. to-morrow, I cannot deny myself 
the pleasure of passing a few minutes with you, chiefly 
to draw a picture, which I know will give your patriotic 
heart delight, a picture of Mr. Jefferson in which he was 
exhibited to the best advantage. About 12 o'clock yes- 
terday, the citizens of Washington and Geo. Town waited 
upon the President to make their devoirs. I accompanied 
Mr. Sumpter (?). We found about 20 persons present 
in a room where sat Mr. J. surrounded by the five Chero- 
kee chiefs. After a conversation of a few minutes, he 
invited his company into the usual dining room, whose 
four large sideboards were covered with refreshments, 
such as cakes of various kinds, wine, punch, &c. Every 
citizen was invited to partake, as his taste dictated, of 
them, and the invitation was most cheerfully accepted, 
and the consequent duties discharged with alacrity. The 
company soon increased to near a hundred, including all 
the public officers and most of the respectable citizens, and 
strangers of distinction. Martial music soon announced 
the approach of the marine corps of Capt. Burrows, who 
in due military form saluted the President, accompanied 
by the President's .March played by an excellent band at- 
tached to the corps. After undergoing various military 
evolutions, the company returned to the dining room, and 
the band from an adjacent room played a succession of 
fine patriotic airs. All appeared to be cheerful, all happy. 
Mr. Jefferson mingled promiscuously with the citizens, 
1 From Mr. Smith to his sister. 

Thomas Jefferson, by Gilbert Stuart. 

The property of T. Jefferson Coolidge. 


and far from designating any particular friends for con- 
sultation, conversed for a short time with every one that 
came in his way. It was certainly a proud day for him, 
the honours of which he discharged with more than his 
usual care. At 2 o'clock, after passing 2 hours in this 
very agreeable way, the company separated. At 4 a 
dinner was given at McMunn and Conrad's, 1 where 
all the civil and military officers attended, and a num- 
ber of citizens, which, including the former, amounted 
to about 50. Everything here was conducted with great 
propriety, and it was not unamusing to see Mr. Gallatin, 
Madison and Dearborn on one side directly opposite to 
Mr. Meredith, Harrison, Steele, &c, on the other. It 
was my good fortune to find myself next to Mr. Miller, 
who was very polite and conversable. About dark I left 
the company and joined a small party at Mrs. Law's, 
who had assembled there to hear the music. Among 
them we met Mrs. Clay, a charming little woman from 
Richmond. Thus you see that we are here at least all 
Republicans and all Federalists. I hope the same spirit 
has animated you. At any rate I think our example will 
be of some use in recommending General Lamory. 

Yours affectionately, 

S. H. S. 


Washington, July 21, 1801. 
I never write with so much ease as when I answer a 
letter immediately after its receipt. We then feel our 
sentiments of affection enlivened, and all we write flows 
from the heart. For 3 weeks or a month past, the 
weather has been oppressively warm, and has had a 

1 Boarding house near the Capitol. 


greater effect on my mind than on my body. I have 
felt indisposed to read or write, or converse, but from 
necessity I have been very busy. At one time I was 
entirely without help, and at all times with such bad help 
that the comfort of the family depended on my activity. 
One woman I dismissed on account of her excessive in- 
temperance, and the old woman I took in her place is 
such a scold that she is hated by all the family; but her 
neatness and honesty reconciled me to her, and I was con- 
gratulating myself on her good conduct, when last night, 
on my return home, I found her, too, in a state of intoxi- 
cation. But I am not so badly off as Mrs. Gallatin ; she 
has still more wicked and profligate wretches about her. 
I am uncommonly fortunate in having such a woman 
as Mrs. Smith * at my command. During the time I was 
without a servant, there was nothing that unasked she 
did not do. I one morning found her on her knees 
scrubbing the parlour. " This is what I would not do 
for any other person living," said she. " And I do not 
believe," answered I, " you would like to have done it, 
had I asked you." " Indeed, you are mistaken, there is 
nothing you could ask which I would not do." My plan 
in regard to her is, for her to come about October and 
assist in cleaning house, and in the necessary prepara- 
tions for an approaching event. I shall prepare a large 
room for her, in which she will sleep and sit, and in 
which the two boys will eat and sit of an evening. They 
are now so rude and troublesome at their meals, and in 
their manners, that I promise myself they will be much 
benefited by being with her. She is to make and mend 
their clothes. She can make all Mr. S.'s except his coats, 
and is likewise a good mantua-maker and seamstress. 
She is to iron and clear starch, and when I am prevented 
1 Her housekeeper for some years. 

i8o2] FITS OF AGUE 33 

by other duties from discharging the delightful cares of 
a nurse, she is to take my place. In general, I shall 
always choose to be nurse and house-keeper myself, and 
to let her do the sewing of the family; for even if 
she did not sew as well as I did, yet I have always been 
of opinion that mistakes or negligence in this department 
of household business was less disadvantageous to domes- 
tic order and comfort, than in either the care of children, 
or in economical arrangements. We are so much the 
creatures of habit, that if possible I shall always, if 
Providence blesses me with children, devote my time 
chiefly to them, and as far as I can consistently with the 
comfort of those around me, have them constantly in my 


December 26, 1802. 
. . . . Since my last letter to you, I have unex- 
pectedly been in a good deal of company and have seen 
much more than I designed. We have dined twice at 
the President's, three times at Mr. Pichons, and they 
have dined twice here, four times at Mrs. Tingeys and 
once at Genl. Mason's (the Island Mason). I have 
drank tea out three or four times and declined several 
invitations to balls. I have often gone out with the 
ague, sometimes with fever on me, so much has habit 
done in reconciling me to this enemy. I know that noth- 
ing will keep off the fit, and may as well have it in one 
place as another. I very seldom now go to bed, but sit 
up, or lie down on the sopha, have a bowl of tea and a 
basin by me, and then give no one further trouble, but 
take my fit with the greatest sang froid. 


Madm. Pichon 1 and myself are now on the most inti- 
mate footing, every interview seems to have endeared us 
to each other and I believe we mutually feel the affection 
and confidence of old friends. The similarity of our 
present situation, even as to the time, calls forth the same 
hopes, the same anxieties. We have sat whole days 
together and talked of nothing but the care of infants 
and the education of children. She often comes and sits 
the morning with me, and when we go there she sends 
the carriage for us and sends us home again. Last Sun- 
day, this day week, they dined here. Madm. P. came 
between eleven and twelve and they staid till 9 in the 
evening. — I ought to tell you a great deal about Mrs. 
Randolph and Mrs. Eppes, 2 who have both been with 
their father for this month past. Mrs. Eppes is beauti- 
ful, simplicity and timidity personified when in company, 
but when alone with you of communicative and winning 
manners. Mrs. R. is rather homely, a delicate likeness 
of her father, but still more interesting than Mrs. E. 
She is really one of the most lovely women I have ever 
met with, her countenance beaming with intelligence, 
benevolence and sensibility, and her conversation fulfils 
all her countenance promises. Her manners, so frank 
and affectionate, that you know her at once, and feel 
perfectly at your ease with her. I have called twice of a 
morning on them, they have been here three mornings 
and they have promised to come and sit part of a morn- 
ing with me, as I told them this was my only chance of 
seeing them, as I did not give entertainments of which 
they assured me they were heartily tired. I dined at the 

1 Wife of Louis Andre* Pichon, French Charge* d' Affaires at Washington 
from 1 80 1 to 1805. 

3 Jefferson's daughter, Martha, married Thomas Mann Randolph; another, 
Maria, married John Wayles Eppes. Both sons-in-law were able men and 
represented Virginia in Congress. 


P.'s since they have been there and really passed a most 
delightful day. Before dinner he conversed with me, 
and after dinner for two hours I had an interesting con- 
versation with Mrs. R. She gave me an account of all 
her children, of the character of her husband and many 
family anecdotes. She has that rare but charming ego- 
tism which can interest the listener in all one's concerns. 
I could have listened to her for two hours longer, but 
coffee and the gentlemen entered and we were inter- 
rupted. But I became almost as agreeably engaged with 
the lovely Ellen, her daughter, without exception one of 
the finest and most intelligent children I have ever met 
with. She is singularly and extravagantly fond of 
poetry ; I repeated to her Goldsmith's Hermit, which she 
listened to with the most expressive countenance, her 
eyes fixed on mine and her arms clasped close around me. 
We became mutually attached to each other and I begged 
Mrs. R. to let her spend a day with me. Her Mama 
brought her the other morning and sent for her about 
seven in the evening. She really was most charming 
society for me. . . . 


Washington, April 26, 1803. Saturday Evening. 
Have just returned, my dearest Margaret, from a 
dining party at Genl. Dearborn's, where I met with Mrs. 
Madison and Mrs. Duval who, together with the ladies 
of the house, enquired in a very friendly manner respect- 
ing you and Julia. I have rarely spent more agreeable 
hours at a dinner table. Air. Granger, 2 who was present 

1 Mrs. Smith was on a brief visit to her relatives at Brunswick. 

2 Gideon Granger, of Connecticut, Postmaster General for thirteen years, 
and an active politician all his life. 


and who is a very agreeable man, after a few bottles of 
champagne were emptied, on the observation of Mr. 
Madison that it was the most delightful wine when drank 
in moderation, but that more than a few glasses always 
produced a headache the next day, remarked with point 
that this was the very time to try the experiment, as the 
next day being Sunday would allow time for a recovery 
from its effects. The point was not lost upon the host 
and bottle after bottle came in, without however I assure 
you the least invasion of sobriety. Its only effects were 
animated good humour and uninterrupted conversation. 

Yesterday a most furious storm, attended with rain, 
arose, and the temperature of the air from summer 
heat, the mercury was at 83, was exchanged for that 
of a piercing cold. You know how the rain beats and the 
wind roars here. Recollecting the enthusiasm you feel 
in such scenes I could not help wishing for your presence, 
and when the awful rolling of thunder enhanced the 
sublimity of the scene, that wish was increased. The 
same storm however may have extended to Brunswick, 
and while I was indulging these feelings, you may have 
been thinking of me. Thus it is, my dearest friend, that 
affection associates with those recollections it most de- 
lights to cherish, every extraordinary incident. The pain- 
ful idea of separation and distance is overcome by the 
illusion produced by a community of thought with the 
beloved object. It is thus that I often enjoy the purest 
and the most complete satisfaction, that I inspire you to 
be present, and thus congratulate myself on my delusion. 



[Brunswick] Tuesday, May 17, 1803. 

. . . . I trust your interposition with Mr. Grain- 
ger will prove equally effectual, or rather I am in hopes 
that Col. Morgan's 1 assertion is not true. I have seldom 
known anything provoke such indignation as the threat- 
ened removal of the postmaster here. He is so good, 
orderly and respectable a citizen, has performed the duties 
of his office so punctually, is so obliging to the citizens 
and so exact in his accounts, at the same time he is so 
inoffensive in his manner and so moderate in his political 
opinions, that it is impossible to believe he is discharged 
for any fault of his, but only to provide for another man ; 
that man is a stranger in Brunswick, is idle, contemptible 
and intemperate, he has been for a long time dependent 
on Col. Morgan, and has been a cause of much domestic 
disquiet to his wife and family. I have all the feelings of 
a republican about me and dread anything unjust and 
offensive being done by a party I feel so much attached 
to. The appointments already made in this place have 
been very unfortunate, and I am sure if Mr. J. had not 
been greatly deceived they never would have been made. 
It is supposed that Mr. Grainger is now putting in as 
many of his own party as he can, in order to influence the 
elections; if he makes many changes without sufficient 
reasons, will not he give too much ground for such a 
suspicion? I cannot help feeling a deep interest in a 
cause which you have embraced, and nothing but this 
attachment would have induced me to say a word about 

1 Probably Col. James Morgan, an officer of the Revolution and a promi- 
nent Federalist. Jefferson's administration was on the spoils system. He 
removed nearly all the Federalists from office and appointed none but 


such matters in my letters to you. Tell me, I beg of you, 
in your next letter, how my amiable friend, Madm. 
Pichon, is. . . . 


July 5, 1803, Washington. 

. . . . By the by, what do you think of my going 
to such an extent as to win 2 Doll, at Loo the first time 
I ever played the game, and being the most successful at 
the table? I confess I felt some mortification at putting 
the money of Mrs. Madison and Mrs. Duval into my 
pocket. 2 

Yesterday was a day of joy to our citizens and of 
pride to our President. It is a day which you know he 
always enjoys. How much more must he have enjoyed 
it on this occasion from the great event that occasioned 
it. The news of the cession of Louisiana only arrived 
about 8 o'clock of the night preceding, just in time to be 
officially announced on this auspicious day. Next to the 
liberty of his country, peace is certainly the dearest to his 
heart. How glad then must that heart be which with lov- 
ing participancy in obtaining and securing the one, has 
placed the other on an impregnable basis. This mighty 
event forms an era in our history, and of itself must ren- 
der the administration of Jefferson immortal. At an early 
hour the city was alive, — a discharge of 18 guns salutej 
the dawn, the military assembled exhibiting a martial 
appearance, at 11 o'clock an oration was deld. by Capt. 
Sprig (?) (well written but poorly pronounced), at 12 

1 Mrs. Smith was in New York, visiting the family of Rev. Dr. John 
Rodgers, whose daughter her eldest brother had married. 

2 It will be discomforting to fashionable ladies of the present day who 
play "bridge" for money to know that Mrs. Madison subsequently gave up 
playing cards for stakes and was sorry she had ever indulged in the practice. 


company began to assemble at the President's; it was 
more numerous than I have before marked it, enlivened 
too by the presence of between 40 and 50 ladies clothed 
in their best attire, cakes, punch, wine &c in profusion. 
After partaking of these mingled pleasures the company 
separated about 2, and at 3, the greater part assembled at 
Stille's to the number of near 100. Before dinner I had 
the honor of reading the declaration of independence; 
pleased as I was with the distinction I confess I was not 
sorry when it was over, not having been perfectly well for 
a few days I was not without some apprehension of being 
unable to perform the duty with decency, and tho' I did 
not have the ambition to be eloquent, yet I felt anxious to 
escape the implication of inability. As it happened, how- 
ever, the reading went off very well, and I was compli- 
mented for the precision and spirit with which it was deld. 
and I was pleased with learning that not a word was 
missed in the utmost parts of the room. Margaret, there 
is no person on earth but yourself to whom I cd. speak so 
frankly. Receive this very openness as a coincidence of 
my unbounded confidence, confidence which nothing but 
love and esteem strong as my heart entertains for its best 
heaven, could inspire. At dinner our toasts were politics, 
our songs convivial. At nine I left the company, part of 
which remained, I believe, till day light. Mr. Granger 
spoke to me of having seen you, without knowing you as 
Mrs. S. tho' he was sure he had before seen you. I often 
dwell pn the happiness I shall derive from Julia on your 
return, the novelty of which will render it irresistibly cap- 
tivating. A few months must have given her a new exis- 
tence, and widened the budding powers of her heart and 
mind a thousand times more interesting. When we do 
meet again, my dearest wife, we shall indeed be happy. 




Friday, July 8, [1803] New York. 1 

Perhaps this letter may reach you, if it does it will 
assure you of my participation in your satisfaction on the 
interesting event which has occurred. Your letter this 
morning induces me to believe that the whole of Louisiana 
is ceded, whereas my federal friends here will have it, 
that only the Island of New Orleans is given up. I have 
been sending about for the National Intelligencer, but 
could not find it. I long to see your enunciation of this 
matter and to ascertain what is true. Every one seems 
to rely on what you assert as the truth ; but charge you 
with being silent on Mr. Livingston's merit in this affair, 
and your wishing to give the glory to Mr. Munroe, while 
on the contrary it is believed here that the latter had 
nothing to do with it. 2 Even Mr. Jefferson is supposed 
to have had little or no agency and this act on the part 
of the French is supposed to result from their war with 
Britain. It is said that when Mr. King expressed his 
uneasiness at the conduct of the Spanish intendant, the 
english ministry assured him he need be in no ways 
anxious, because war would soon take place, in which 
case the British would immediately take possession of 
Lous'na, and as they would be our neighbours and friends, 
we need have no apprehensions about the French. On 
this information, Mr. King wrote the same to Livingston 
who urged this to the French administration, as a motive 
for giving up that territory to us, thereby preventing their 
enemy from gaining such a valuable territory and such 

1 Mrs. Smith was visiting her sister, Mrs. Samuel Boyd. 

2 Monroe had nothing to do with it. The negotiations were entirely 
completed before he arrived in France. 

Samuel Harrison Smith, founder of The National Intelligencer. 

After the portrait by Charles Bird King. 


an accession of strength; this proved effectual and the 
whole transaction was settled before Munroe arrived. 
The first news of this event gave me great joy, as I 
had heard Mr. J's. conduct in preferring negotiation to 
invasion, brought as a new proof of timidity and when I 
had ventured to say it arose from love of peace, they 
quite laughed me to scorn, and said it was cowardice 
alone. I did not know the interest I felt in political con- 
cerns, until lately, and this event has given me such real 
satisfaction that were you to hear me, you would not 
again tax me with indifference. I have reserved all my 
political; thoughts and observations for conversation. 
Your letter was quite interesting. I thought of you all 
day on the fourth of July and wished most heartily to be 
with you at the Presidents. I believe I feel more highly 
gratified by any mark of respect shown to you, than you 
can yourself. I felt very anxious to hear how you de- 
livered the piece you speak of, and thought I should have 
trembled with anxiety had I been near you. Dear hus- 
band it is your modesty only, that could induce you to 
think it such a mark of confidence, to tell me that you 
were approved of. But let the motive be what it will, I 
entreat you ever to repose this kind of confidence in your 
wife, who feels far more gratified by every testimony of 
regard towards you, than those paid to herself. Never 
then, my best friend, conceal from me, what will give 
me more pleasure than anything else. Tomorrow week, 
I expect dearest husband to be again in your arms ! Yes 
indeed we shall be happy. I pray you let nothing inter- 
fere to disappoint us. I feel a kind of dread about me, 
and your mentioning that you were not very well, makes 
me fear that illness may detain you. I yesterday pur- 
chased a certain cure for the ague for you. I shall come 
home with two or three infallable medicines and hope if I 


am with you, to prevent your suffering from this depress- 
ing disease. I did not half like the idea of your [illegi- 
ble] but I will scold you when I see you, and my chiding 
will not be very severe. I have for more than a week 
past sung Julia to sleep with these words, "Papa is com- 
ing to bring Julia some cakes." .... 


Washington, Monday night. [1803.] 
Here I am my dear sisters, once more safely and hap- 
pily seated at home. I have no time to write tomorrow, 
so that this letter must serve for my Philadelphia and my 
Brunswick Julia and sisters. I was so completely fa- 
tigued this morning that I could not write, and now steal 
an hour that should be devoted to repose. Tomorrow I 
shall be wholy engaged in making provision for my coun- 
try residence, to which I shall repair on Wednesday 
morning. Our ride from Phila. to Lancaster was horri- 
bly fatiguing, I never experienced anything like it, and if 
crying could have done any good, I should have followed 
Julia's example and have cried all the way. At Lancaster 
we had a miserable dinner which altho' hungry we could 
scarcely eat ; it was the same case at supper ; we supped at 
the Susquehanah. Julia slept profoundly, and we nearly 
as well ; rose at three next morning, travelled all day over 
good roads thro' a beautiful country, Julia playful and 
good, excellent provision, a ravenous appetite, and fine 
spirits. At 6 we arrived at Frederick town, but little 
tired, after riding 75 miles. At supper we met several 
very agreeable people, among the rest Mr. Randolph 1 
(of Congress) Mr. Taylor, an acquaintance of your 
1 John Randolph, of Roanoke. 


Brothers, a man of some talent, polite manners, but 
desultory habits of life. 

Mr. Randolph conversed most agreeably until 10 
o'clock, when I withdrew from his agreeable society and 
soon lost ourselves in sweet and refreshing slumbers. 
After breakfast next morning we had a call from Mr. 
and Mrs. Beckly, who are on their way to Bath. At nine 
we left F. in a private carriage in which Mr. B. had come 
the day before. Mr. Taylor who resides in this place, 
came with us. He was a most entertaining companion, 
a perfect poetical miscellany; there was no subject on 
which he could not quote fine lines of poetry. Homer, 
Virgil, Tasso, Ariosto, Milton, Goldsmith, Pope, Waller, 
and twenty others, contributed to our entertainment. 
The sun was shaded with clouds, the breeze cool and 
refreshing. The scenery romantic and wild beyond any 
we had seen. We arrived at Montgomery court house 
at three o'clock, when it began to rain, and continued to 
rain until evening. This did not much impede our jour- 
ney and we arrived safely at home at 10 oclock. Mrs. 
Smith was a bed, but Milly was looking out of the win- 
dow. On perceiving us, she screamed out ''There's Mis- 
tress; there's Mistress," and flew half wild with joy to 
receive us; she danced, capered and followd in most ex- 
travagant manner; Mrs. Smith soon run down and dem- 
onstrated much more joy than I imagined she could feel. 
We got tea, with which Julia was delighted. You never 
saw a little creature so frolicsome as she has been ever 
since we left Lancaster. She slept almost half the time, 
laughd and danced the other half. All this day I have 
been resting. I found the house in perfect order, the 
parlour set off with oak boughs, curtains white as snow ; 
and all neat as wax work. At five this afternoon we got 
a hack, and visited our retreat. I shall not pretend now 


to describe it. All I will say is that I am delighted with 
it. A good house on the top of a high hill, with high 
hills all around it, embower'd in woods, thro' an opening 
of which the Potomack, its shores and Mason's Island 
are distinctly seen. I have never been more charmingly 
surprised than on seeing this retreat, but enough of it by 
and by. We go there on Wednesday. On my way 
home I called on Madam Pechon. On seeing her, I be- 
lieve, I have seen one of the happiest of human beings. 
She had her little son in her arms, which however did not 
impede her hastening to embrace me. I was affected to 
tears. I folded her to my bosom, with sensations of 
almost equal pleasure with which I embraced my dearest 
sisters. She is perfectly well, so is her son, so is her 
spouse. My friend expressed what I must believe to be 
true pleasure on seeing me. I have already promised to 
be almost a daily visitor. But I must stop. When I get 
among my little mountains and towering woods, I shall 
write you wonderful letters. My kindest love to Papa 
and all my other excellent friends. 


Monday, January 23, 1804. 
. . . . My family affairs go on pretty well ; I have 
an old woman in the kitchen as a drudge, for she cannot 
cook ; I have a miserably idle dirty girl as a waiter, whom 
I shall get rid of as soon as possible. Milly is my stand 
bye, she cleans the house, makes beds, irons, clear 
starches, and attends Julia while I am in the kitchen, 
which is two or three hours every day, as I cook every 
dinner that is eat by the family and have even to assist 
in dishing up dinner. I have had a fine little girl of 5 


yrs old bound to me by Dr. Willis. While I work, she 
plays with Julia and keeps her quiet, she is gay, good 
temper'd and well behaved, Julia is extremely fond of 
her, and she of Julia ; and I hope to have some comfort in 
her. Since Mrs. S. left me I have totally neglected 
musick, reading and writing, and altho' I sew all the 
morning and evening, yet the interruptions from com- 
pany, from family calls, from Julia &c are so frequent, 
that I found my work go behind hand, and Mr. Smith 
who is always urging me to resume my old employments, 
has induced me to get a woman to work whenever it was 
necessary. I had to get over my pique to Mrs. Jones and 
she is now working for me. I give her 12s. 6d. pr week 
and shall get her to do all my large work in the course 
of a week or two and shall then have leisure for my little 
things. It is so entirely the custom to visit of a morning 
here, that if we keep up any intercourse with society, our 
mornings are most of them sacrificed. Of an evening 
some one or more of the gentlemen of congress are al- 
ways here. This, my dear sister, is an unprofitable way 
of life; but there is no alternative in this place, between 
gay company and parties and perfect solitude. Since my 
last letters, we have been at a large and splendid ball at 
Mr. Robt. Smith's, 1 a dining party at Md'm Pichon's, a 
card party at Mrs. Gallatins, at Mr. Beckley's, 2 and at Mr. 
Van Ness's 3 and at the city assembly. Mrs. R. Smith's 
was by far the most agreeable. Mrs. Merry 4 was there 

1 Secretary of the Navy, a man of wealth and fashion. 

2 John Beckley, of Virginia, Clerk of the House of Representatives, an 
active political agent for the Southern Republicans. 

3 John Peter Van Ness, of Kinderhook, N. Y., member of Congress in 
1 80 1, lost his seat in 1803 bv accepting the post of Major in the Militia of 
the District of Columbia. He married Marcia Burns in 1802, and from her 
acquired a large fortune. Latrobe built him a splendid house and he and 
his beautiful wife entertained lavishly for many years. 

4 Wife of Anthony Merry, British Minister. She made an international 
question of her right to go in to dinner at the White House on the President's 


and her dress attracted great attention; it was brilliant 
and fantastic, white satin with a long train, dark blue 
crape of the same length over it and white crape drapery 
down to her knees and open at one side, so thickly cover'd 
with silver spangles that it appear'd to be a brilliant silver 
tissue ; a breadth of blue crape, about four yards long, and 
in other words a long shawl, put over her head, instead 
of over her shoulders and hanging down to the floor, her 
hair bound tight to her head with a band like her drapery, 
with a diamond crescent before and a diamond comb be- 
hind, diamond ear-rings and necklace, displayed on a bare 
bosom. She is a large, tall well-made woman, rather 
masculine, very free and affable in her manners, but easy 
without being graceful. She is said to be a woman of 
fine understanding and she is so entirely the talker and 
actor in all companies, that her good husband passes quite 
unnoticed ; he is plain in his appearance and called rather 
inferior in understanding. I am half tempted to enter 
into details of our city affairs and personages, but really 
I shall have to be so scandalous, that I am affraid of 
amusing you at such a risk. But certainly there is no 
place in the United States where one hears and sees so 
many strange things, or where so many odd characters 

are to be met with. But of Mad'm 1 1 think it no 

harm to speak the truth. She has made a great noise 
here, and mobs of boys have crowded round her splendid 
equipage to see what I hope will not often be seen in this 
country, an almost naked woman. An elegant and select 
party was given to her by Mrs. Robt. Smith ; her appear- 
ance was such that it threw all the company into confusion, 
and no one dar'd to look at her but by stealth ; the win- 
dow shutters being left open, a crowd assembled round 
the windows to get a look at this beautiful little creature, 
1 A well-known American woman, the wife of a foreigner. 


for every one allows she is extremely beautiful. Her 
dress was the thinnest sarcenet and white crepe without 
the least stiffening in it, made without a single plait in the 
skirt, the width at the bottom being made of gores ; there 
was scarcely any waist to it and no sleeves ; her back, her 
bosom, part of her waist and her arms were uncover'd 
and the rest of her form visible. She was engaged the 
next evening at Madm P's, Mrs. R. Smith and several 
other ladies sent her word, if she wished to meet them 
there, she must promise to have more clothes on. I was 
highly pleased with this becoming spirit in our ladies. 
Mrs. Moreton, of whom you have heard me speak, re- 
ceived the visit of and his lady in bed. No one 

however follow'd the fashion they wished to set. I 
could write many more such anecdotes, but this is enough 
for one letter. 


Th: Jefferson presents his respectful compliments to 
Mrs. Smith, and being charged with those of a distant 
friend of hers, he cannot give better evidence of them 
than her own letter, which he incloses with his salutations. 

July 10, 05. 


Washington, December 6th, 1805 Thursday. 
. . . . Friday morning. Maria is seated at her 
writing table in my room, and I have the stand placed 
beside the fire in the parlour and the children playing 
round me. I shall accustom myself to write and read 
with them in the room and I shall soon find it easy, tho' 
at present, it somewhat disturbs me I tell Maria she may 


remain at her writing table until 12, the rest of the day we 
will pass together. Mrs. Potts does extremely well at 
present, my man John is neither one of the best nor one 
of the worst of waiters, and is so good natured there is 
no scolding him, and my kitchen work goes on sure and 
slow. I have never since I lived in Washington been so 
comfortably and agreeably fixed. Mrs. P. is very at- 
tentive to the children and does a great deal of sewing. 
When I rise I always find the parlour in neat order, a 
good fire, breakfast ready. I have made a few reforms 
in house-keeping, — one is rising a little after 7, and hav- 
ing breakfast precisely at 8, the other baking my own 
bread. I have had a close stove put up in the kitchen, 
which saves one half of the wood that used to be con- 
sumed; we cook entirely on it. Our standing dinner is 
one dish of meat, two of vegetables, and soup, and the 
stove exactly holds these. We have hot rolls for break- 
fast and biscuit or other little cakes for tea. Our wood 
yard is filled from our farm, our garden has afforded a 
sufficient supply of vegetables, and occasionally butter ; I 
go to market myself once or twice a week, in fine, every- 
thing is as it should be and my only wish is that no change 
may occur. Maria I suppose mentioned that my good 
Mrs. Doyne kept a boarding house. I have interested 
myself very much for her and recommend her to Mr. Bar- 
low, 1 he has taken a parlour and bed room which are very 
neatly furnished, and the stable, — he pays her 40 dollars 
a week for himself, wife and 2 servants, besides them she 
has 10 gentlemen at 10 dollars a week only for board and 
lodging, as they find fuel, candles, etc. and so I think she 
will do very well. We have all the surrounding houses 
filled, but I have not yet become acquainted with many of 

1 Joel Barlow, poet, literary man and diplomatist, moved soon after this 
to Kalorama, a handsome estate north of the citv. 

!8o6] MR. LAW'S POEM 49 

my new neighbours. Dr. Mitchell 1 lives directly opposite 
and we have several ladies next door. We passed a very 
agreeable evening at Mrs. Gallatin's. The Turks amused 
our eyes. I have had so much running about this morn- 
ing, salting away beef, &c, that I am not in much of a 
letter-writing mood, but delays are dangerous. While 
we were at breakfast this morning, a large parcel was 
brought in, with a note from Mr. Law. 2 The roll, when 
untied, proved to be his poem — Agitation, submitted to 
my ladyship's judgement. Maria was delighted, as she 
had been quite anxious to see it, having heard Mr. N's 
account of it ; if worth copying, you shall have it. I ex- 
pect we shall be favoured with occasional visits from the 
muses this winter as we have two or three voluntarys 
in our vicinity, Dr. B. and Dr. M. Dr. Barlow is so 
thoughtful and absent in company, that I cannot yet say 
what I think of him. My pen drags so heavily along, and 
my thoughts are so drawn off by my little Sue, who is beg- 
ging to be taken up, that I must lay this sheet aside for 
another occasion, tho' I am sensible what I have said, 
is not satisfactory. I intended my dear sister to have 
answer 'd your letter more fully, but am disappointed. 


Sydney, 3 May 4, 1806, Sunday. 
. . . . On Sunday morning Mrs. Randolph and 
Madison called and I promised to take tea with Mrs. R. 
in the evening. We found no company, and all the fam- 

1 Samuel L. Mitchill, the scientist, then a Senator from New York. 

2 Mr. Law wrote a great deal of vers de socieU, which was much admired 
by his friends. Fortunately little of it has been preserved. 

3 Their country place which they bought in 1804. It occupied the tract 
a part of which is now the Catholic University of America, adjoining the 
grounds of the Soldiers' Home. Its name when Mr. Smith bought it was 
Turkey Thicket. He sold it in 1835 for $12,000. 


ily were out, but Mr. J. and Mrs. R. She was seated 
by him on a sopha and all her lovely children playing 
around them. With what delight did I contemplate this 
good parent, and while I sat looking at him playing with 
these infants, one standing on the sopha with its arms 
round his neck, the other two youngest on his knees, play- 
ing with him, I could scarcely realise that he was one of 
the most celebrated men now living, both as a Politician 
and Philosopher. He was in one of his most communi- 
cative and social moods, and after tea, when the children 
went to bed, the conversation turned on agriculture, gar- 
dening, the differences of both in different countries and 
of the produce of different climates. This is one of the 
most favorite pursuits and indeed the conversation the 
whole evening turned on his favorite subjects. I was 
seated on the sopha which he and Mrs. R. occupied and 
Mr. Smith close by me, and almost fronting him. You 
know the effect of such a disposition of places on the free 
flow of conversation, and I am certain that had he been 
on the other side of the chimney we should not have 
heard half as much. There are five cons necessary to 
make a good fire, and there are at least two, to kindle 
the warmth and animation of social intercourse, contigu- 
ity and congruity. The evening passed delightfully and 
rapidly away, and I felt quite ashamed to find it almost 
ten when we rose to depart. Mr. J. gave me some win- 
ter melon-seed from Malta, he doubts whether it will 
come to perfection here, on account of the early frosts, 
so it will not do for Brunswick. . . . 



Washington, July 31, 1806 Thursday Evening. 
. . . . Last Sunday 1 while I had my little flock 
around me, the noise of carriages drew us to the door 
and Mr. and Mrs. Madison, Dr. and Mrs. Thornton and 
Mrs. B. 2 came to spend the evening. Mrs. M. was all 
that was tender, affectionate and attractive as usual; 
Mr. M. was in one of his most sportive moods, the Dr. 
in his philosophical and the ladies disposed to be pleased. 
The afternoon was passed sans ceremonie, they sat on 
the benches beneath the trees, swung in the hammoch, 
walked about and Mrs. T. led the way through the 
kitchen to look at my milk house ; she was so pleased that 
she called the Dr., and he so pleased he called all the 
rest, and so my milk house underwent the inspection of 
the secretary, the phylosopher and the good ladies. It 
was in nice order with about a dozen or fifteen large 
pans of milk ranged around ; Sukey, who was sitting on 
the steps cutting smoked beef, was quite proud of their 
praise. I, as a country woman ought to do, set out 
my large table, with nice white cloth, plates, knives, 
home made bread, &c. &c. My butter which was as 
hard as in the middle of winter, was highly praised and 
when Mrs. Thornton observed my woman made excel- 
lent butter, I realy felt a sensation of pride, which I do 
not often feel, in telling her it was my own making and 
that since the first of May, I had never missed churn- 
ing but once. You can not think what a right down 
farmer's wife I am, but next winter will I hope con- 
vince you, that at least I am a good dairy maid, as you 
will eat of the fine butter I pack away. I have made 

*At Sidney. 

2 Mrs. Bordeaux, Mrs. Thornton's mother. 


about 60 lbs. this summer and have packed near 30 away. 
I tell you these little nothings, dear Susan, to bring you 
amongst us in fancy at least ; ah, how I wish you were 
here in reality! Surely the country is as favorable to 
the health of the soul as to that of the body, for never 
do I feel the power of my mind so active, or the affections 
of my heart so warm as when surrounded by the works of 
nature. . . . 


Washington, Feb. 9, 1808. 
. . . . Well, I shall never grow any older, I really 
think, and it appears to me both a moral and physical im- 
possibility that 30 years have passed since I was born. I 
wish I had you at Washington a little while and you 
would not think Aunt Margaret the only strange per- 
sonage in the world. The other evening Susan and I 
were very much diverted by two most venerable senators, 
who came to drink tea with us. I perceived Judge R. 
minutely surveying the forte pianno, and supposed he 
might be fond of musick, so asked Susan to play for 
them. When she took her seat, they both drew nigh 
and what I supposed to be attention marked on their 
countenances, I afterwards found out to be astonishment, 
for I believe it was the first time they had seen or heard 
such a thing. They looked and looked, felt all over the 
outside, peeped in where it was open, and seemed so curi- 
ous to know how the sound was produced, or whence it 
came, that I beged Susan to open the lid and to display the 
internal machinery. Never did I see children more de- 
lighted. "Dear me," said the judge, "how pretty those 

1 It appears to be "Judge R" in the MS., but there was no Senator who 
fills the description. Perhaps Mrs. Smith meant Senator Buckner Thurs- 
ton, of Kentucky, as one of the backwoodsmen. 


white and red things jump up and down, dear me what a 
parcel of wires, strange that a harp with a thousand 
strings should keep in tune so long." "Pray," said the 
other senator, "have you any rule to play musick ?" We 
tried to explain how the keys were the representatives of 
the notes, they did not seem to comprehend, supposing all 
Susan's sweet melody was drawn by chance or random 
from this strange thing. When the examination was 
over, they both said it was a very pretty thing. The 
same good judge, the other day went up to General 
Turreau in the senate, surveyed him from head to foot, 
lifted up the flaps of his coat all covered with gold em- 
broidery, asked him the use of the gold tassels on his 
boots, what was such a thing and such a thing and how 
much it all might cost, all which the general very good 
humourdly answered. Do not think now these good men 
are fools, far from it, they are very sensible men and 
useful citizens, but they have lived in the back woods, 
thats all. If you have read my letters, you will have seen 
Capt. Pike 1 mentioned as one of the most agreeable 
young men who visited here. Well, here we were teas- 
ing Susan about him, (and in fact it would not have been 
a surprising thing if an impression had been made on 
her heart) when lo and behold he the other day told us 
he was a married man and had a daughter as big as 
Julia. For his sport, he had been masquerading here 
all winter, and was a favorite beau among all the belles. 
Poor Susan can hardly get over it, but her forte-pianno 
will make her forget every thing else I believe, for she 
does little else but play. I am in such a scribbling mood 
dear Mary, that I could have rilled a folio sheet for you, 
had I not been affraid of frightening you from our pro- 

1 Zebulon Montgomery Pike, the explorer, had made his expedition into 
the Louisiana Territory the year before. 


posed correspondence. But you must take me for better 
or worse, folios and quarto's, prose or verse, nonsense or 
much sense, gaiety or dullness, but always warmly and 

Affectionately and sincerely your friend 
Love to all our friends. 


Saturday, 26 February [1809]. 
Mr. Hauto was a very welcome visitor to us all. He 
left his packages first and called an hour or two after- 
wards, wisely conjecturing that they would pave the way 
to a welcome. He came about 1 oclock, between two 
and three he arose to take his leave, but I begged he 
would sit still and take his dinner with us. At four, Mr. 
Smith came home and brought Caleb Lowndes with him. 
"I have come to take my dinner with you without your 
knowing anything about it," said he, "You will be the 
only sufferer by that," I replied : "but I never make appol- 
ogies to Philosophers, and I mean to treat you, Mr. 
Hauto, as well as Mr. Lowndes as a philosopher. I al- 
ways take it for granted they are such intellectual beings, 
that they care but little for the gross articles of food and 
drink, and that you prefer the feast of reason and the 
flow of soul, to all the ragouts and champagne a prince 
could give, and then," continued I, shaking the hand Mr. 
Lowndes still held, "I will give you what is a rarity even 
in Palaces, a cordial welcome." "And that," said Mr. 
L. "is a sauce which will give a relish to the plainest 
food." After this preface, which seemed as the first 
course for the feast of reason, we sat down to our roast 
beef, cold veal, peas, porridge, &c with good appetites and 

i8o 9 ] "INDIAN PUDDING" 55 

had a desert of indian pudding season'd with some wit 
and a great deal of mirth and good humour. Mr. Hauto 
to our great entertainment, had some difficulty in making 
way with his indian pudding and molasses, but when I 
assured him that this dish was immortalized by the great- 
est poet of our country, he made out to mortalize it. 1 I 
like Mr. Hauto very well and shall say more of him in my 
letter to Maria, if it does not go all out of my head. I 
like this Caleb Lowndes 2 very much Susan, and I am 
sure Mary would like him prodigiously. I mean to give 
him a packet to you and desire him to call and see you 

Yes, Susan, I do indeed feel sorry when I think that 
we are soon to lose our dear good President. You 
know mine is not a common regard, that I not only ven- 
erate and admire his character, but am personally at- 
tached to him, — his long visit last autumn in the country, 
in which I had a tete-a-tete of more than two hours ; and 
in which the conversation was free and various and I 
might say confidential, has made me more intimately ac- 
quainted than ever. The notes which on several occa- 
sions I have received from him I treasure up among my 
most precious relics. When he has gone, Washington 
will not be Washington to me. I cannot think of his de- 
parture without tears. I do love him, with all my heart 
I love him, but this letter is to lay by me for the weeks 
journal and here I am filling it already. We have been 
very gay lately, — last night made the 7th or 8th ball this 
winter, besides a great many card parties. We had a 
large and agreeable one at Mrs. Thornton's last week. I 
have been tired of them for some time, but the girls do 
not seem inclined to miss one. To them they have still 

10 Hasty Pudding" was the title of the poem, and the "greatest poet" 
was Joel Barlow! 
2 A Philadelphian; not of the South Carolina family. 


the charm of novelty. Well, I will stop now and write 
a little every day this week. 

Sunday morning. I left off about four o'clock yester- 
day, soon afterwards we dined, the table was just cleared 
away and I seated with Mordaunt in hand, when Caleb 
Lowndes came in, as he often does to take his dinner with 
us. I set the little table out for him and soon mustered 
up a comfortable dinner, and afterwards we sat and con- 
versed by firelight until Mr. Pederson 1 came, lights were 
then brought in, Mr. Smith soon after came home with 
the two Mr. Brent's. 2 The girls had both gone up to 
the house, as Congress was still in session. About 9 
oclock Mrs. Bayard came in, and Mr. P. and she alter- 
nately had several games of chess. This morning Mr. P. 
came to go with us to church, and we had nearly reached 
the Capitol when we met Mr. Coles 3 who told us there 
was no church. So we turned back and Mr. P. has been 
sitting these two hours with me and for want of conversa- 
tion, I made him read to me. All this has so deranged 
my ideas and so I will write no more at present. 

Thursday. Monday, tuesday, Wednesday, is it possi- 
ble three days already gone ? And all in company, in a 
desultory way. On Monday morning, Mr. de Calve, Mr. 
Pederson, and 7 or 8 ladies, took up all the time until 
dinner. In the evening it rained, but that did not hinder 
our going; to Mrs. Gallatin's, where we had a squeeze, of 
all our grandees. I procured a seat next Mrs. Wharton, 
which always ensures me a pleasant evening ; Genl. Tur- 
reau, 4 was there in all the splendor of gold and diamonds ; 

1 Peter Pederson, Consul and Charge" d'Affaires of Denmark. He married 
in 1820 Ann Caroline Smith, of Charleston, daughter of William Laughton 
Smith, Representative in Congress. 

2 The Mayor of Washington was then Robert Bent, but there were several 
of the family, a large one, who would have been likely to visit Mrs. Smith. 

3 Jefferson's Private Secretary. 

4 The French minister, a marshal of France. 


he took a chair next to me and had a long talk ; he said he 
had been often wishing this winter to visit me of an eve- 
ning but we had so many politics at our house, he was 
afraid a Frenchman might be a restraint. The next 
morning, after school was over, I went to Mrs. Bayard's * 
and passed the morning with her. A stormy evening 
prevented every one but Mr. Pederson from coming. 
We passed the evening soberly at chess. On Wednesday 
morning the weather was delicious. I went with the 
girls and Mr. and Mrs. Jenkinson to the barracks, the 
fineness of the weather, the gay appearance of the sol- 
diers and the delightful musick, animated every one, but 
particularly the children. We then went to the Navy 
Yard, through the vessels, and then to the new-Bridge, 
over the Potomack. It was near four oclock when we 
reached home. This spring day awakened all my rural 
feelings and makes me impatient for the country. • In 
the evening we went to Capt. Tingey's where we had a 
charming dance. I am wearied, positively wearied with 
company and shall enjoy the solitude of the country as 
much as any one ever did rest after fatigue. The city is 
thronged with strangers. Yesterday we saw 4 or 5 car- 
riages-and-four come in and already two have passed 
this morning. The Miss Carrols, Miss Chases, Miss 
Cooks, and I dont know how many more misses have 
come from Baltimore. There are parties every night, 
and the galleries. are crowded in the morning. Ah, my 
dear Susan, a stormy day in the country, with you to read 
to me while I worked, I should prefer to any scene how- 
ever gay. Had we a house that would admit it, I should 
this week have a great deal of company; as it is, I can 
see them only of an evening. This sheet is full. I must 
go to Mrs. [illegible]. Adieu. 

1 Mrs. James A. Bayard presumably. 



Saturday, March, 1809. 
I have just returned from the solemn and affecting 
scenes of this day, — to many they were scenes of great- 
ness, gaiety, and exultation. To me they were melan- 
choly. My heart is oppressed, my dearest Susan with a 
weight of sadness, and my eyes are so blinded with tears 
that I can scarcely trace these lines. It is some pleasure 
to me to write to you who participate in my sentiments 
of affectionate veneration for this best of men. For the 
last time I have seen him in his own house. He is 
happy, he has enjoyed all his country can bestow of great- 
ness and honor, he could enjoy no more were he to re- 
main in office his whole life time. He only lays down an 
irksome burden, but carries with him an increase of pop- 
ularity, of esteem and love. He goes to be happy with- 
out ceasing to be great. I ought to rejoice, too, but when 
I think of what we are to lose, I forget what he is to gain. 
To-day after the inauguration, we all went to Mrs. Madi- 
son's. The street was full of carriages and people, and 
we had to wait near half an hour, before we could get in, 
— the house was completely filled, parlours, entry, drawing 
room and bed room. Near the door of the drawing room 
Mr. and Mrs. Madison stood to receive their company. 
She looked extremely beautiful, was drest in a plain cam- 
brick dress with a very long train, plain round the neck 
without any handkerchief, and beautiful bonnet of purple 
velvet, and white satin with white plumes. She was all 
dignity, grace and affability. Mr. Madison shook my 
hand with all the cordiality of old acquaintance but it was 
when I saw our dear and venerable Mr. Jefferson that my 
heart beat. When he saw me, he advanced from the 


crowd, took my hand affectionately and held it five or six 
minutes ; one of the first things he said was, "Remember 
the promise you have made me, to come to see us next 
summer, do not forget it," said he, pressing my hand, "for 
we shall certainly expect you." I assured him I would 
not, and told him I could now wish him joy with much 
more sincerity than this day 8 years ago. "You have 
now resigned a heavy burden," said I. "Yes indeed" he 
replied "and am much happier at this moment than my 
friend." The crowd was immense both at the Capitol 
and here, thousands and thousands of people thronged the 
avenue. The Capitol presented a gay scene. Every inch 
of space was crowded and there being as many ladies as 
gentlemen, all in full dress, it gave it rather a gay than 
a solemn appearance, — there was an attempt made to 
appropriate particular seats for the ladies of public char- 
acters, but it was found impossible to carry it into effect, 
for the sovereign people would not resign their privileges 
and the high and low were promiscuously blended on the 
floor and in the galleries. 

Mr. Madison was extremely pale and trembled ex- 
cessively when he first began to speak, but soon gained 
confidence and spoke audibly. From the Capitol we 
went to Mrs. M's., and from there to Mr. Jefferson's. I 
there again conversed a few minutes ; Mr. Smith told him 
the ladies would follow him, "That is right," said he, 
"since I am too old to follow them. I remember in 
France when his friends were taking leave of Dr. Frank- 
lin, the ladies smothered him with embraces and on his 
introducing me to them as his successor, I told him I 
wished he would transfer these privileges to me, but 
he answered 'You are too young a man.' " Did not this 
imply, Susan, that now this objection was removed? I 
had a great inclination to tell him so. 


Sunday morning. Well, my dear Susan, the chapter 
draws to a close. Last night concluded the important 
day, on which our country received a new magistrate. 
To a philosopher, who while he contemplated the scene, 
revolved past ages in his mind, it must have been a 
pleasing sight. A citizen, chosen from among his equals, 
and quietly and unanimously elevated to a power, which 
in other countries and in all ages of the world has cost 
so much blood to attain ! Would the size of a letter allow 
of it, I would allow my pen to follow the current of 
thought, but to a reflecting mind, which can withdraw it- 
self from the interests and desires of life, which can 
ascend for a little while to another life, and look down 
upon this, the differences of rank, grandeur, power, are 
inequalities of condition, as imperceptible as those the 
traveller discerns in the valley, when he looks down upon 
it from the summit of the Alps. The tallest tree of the 
valley, does not then appear higher than the little shrubs 
it shelters. The storms roll harmless beneath his feet, 
clouds which darken those below, obstruct not his view 
of the sun, and while the inhabitants of the valley are dis- 
tressed and terrified by the strife of the elements, he 
enjoys perpetual sunshine. 

Thus have I endeavored to raise my own mind, and 
to contemplate the scenes that are acted before me. 
Sometimes I can gain this abstraction, but oftener, all 
the weaknesses, the vanities, the hopes and fears of this 
vain show, level me with the lowest of earthly minds. . 

Last evening, I endeavored calmly to look on, and 
amidst the noise, bustle and crowd, 1 to spend an hour or 
two in sober reflection, but my eye was always fixed on 
our venerable friend, when he approached my ear listened 

x This was the first Inauguration Ball. See for an account of it The 
Century for March, 1905. 


to catch every word and when he spoke to me my heart 
beat with pleasure. Personal attachment produces this 
emotion, and I did not blame it. But I have not this 
regard for Mr. Madison, and I was displeased at feeling 
no emotion when he came up and conversed with me. 
He made some of his old kind of mischievous allusions, 
and I told him I found him still unchanged. 1 I tried in 
vain to feel merely as a spectator, the little vanities of my 
nature often conquered my better reason. The room 
was so terribly crowded that we had to stand on the 
benches ; from this situation we had a view of the moving 
mass ; for it was nothing else. It was scarcely possible to 
elbow your way from one side to another, and poor Mrs. 
Madison was almost pressed to death, for every one 
crowded round her, those behind pressing on those be- 
fore, and peeping over their shoulders to have a peep of 
her, and those who were so fortunate as to get near 
enough to speak to her were happy indeed. As the 
upper sashes of the windows could not let down, the 
glass was broken, to ventilate the room, the air of which 
had become oppressive, but here I begin again at the 
end of the story. Well, to make up for it I will begin at 
the beginning. When we went there were not above 50 
persons in the room, we were led to benches at the upper 
fire place. Not long afterwards, the musick struck up 
Jefferson's March, and he and Mr. Coles entered. He 
spoke to all whom he knew, and was quite the plain, un- 
assuming citizen. Madison's March was then played and 
Mrs. Madison led in by one of the managers and Mrs. 
Cutts and Mr. Madison, she was led to the part of the 
room where we happened to be, so that I accidently was 

1 In public life and as a writer, James Madison was the most solemn of 
men. In private life he was an incessant humorist, and at home at Mont- 
pelier used to set his table guests daily into roars of laughter over his stories 
and whimsical way of telling them. 


placed next her. She looked a queen. She had on a 
pale buff colored velvet, made plain, with a very long 
train, but not the least trimming, and beautiful pearl 
necklace, earrings and bracelets. Her head dress was a 
turban of the same coloured velvet and white satin (from 
Paris) with two superb plumes, the bird of paradise 
feathers. It would be absolutely impossible for any one 
to behave with more perfect propriety than she did. Un- 
assuming dignity, sweetness, grace. It seems to me that 
such manners would disarm envy itself, and conciliate 
even enemies. The managers presented her with the 
first number, — "But what shall I do with it," said she, "I 
do not dance." "Give it to your neighbor," said Capt. 
Tingey. "Oh no," said she, "that would look like par- 
tiality." "Then I will," said the Capt. and he presented 
it to Mrs. Cutts. I really admired this in Mrs. M. Ah, 
why does she not in all things act with the same propri- 
ety? She would be too much beloved if she added all 
the virtues to all the graces. She was led to supper by 
the French Minister, 1 Mrs. Cutts by the English Minis- 
ter, 2 she sat at the centre of the table, which was a cres- 
sent, the French and English ministers on each hand, Mrs. 
Cutts the next on the right hand, Mrs. Smith 3 the next 
on the left and Mr. Madison on the other side of the table 
opposite Mrs. M. I chose a place where I could see Mrs. 
M. to advantage. She really in manners and appearance, 
answered all my ideas of royalty. She was so equally 
gracious to both French and English, and so affable to all. 
I suspect Mrs. Smith could not like the superiority of 
Mrs. Cutts, and if I am not mistaken, Mrs. Madison's 
4 causes her some heart burnings. Mr. Jefferson did 

1 General Turreau de Garambonville. ' Honorable M. Erskine. 

3 Wife of Robert Smith, then Secretary of the Navy, but soon to be Sec- 
retary of State 
* The blank is in the original. 


not* stay above two hours ; he seemed in high spirits and 
his countenance beamed with a benevolent joy. I do 
believe father never loved son more than he loves Mr. 
Madison, and I believe too that every demonstration of 
respect to Mr. M. gave Mr. J. more pleasure than if paid 
to himself. Oh he is a good man! And the day will 
come when all party spirit shall expire, that every citizen 
of the United States will join in saying "He is a good 
man." Mr. Madison, on the contrary, seemed spiritless 
and exhausted. While he was standing by me I said, 
"I wish with all my heart I had a little bit of seat to 
offer you." "I wish so too," said he, with a most woe 
begone face, and looking as if he could scarcely stand, — 
the managers came up to ask him to stay to supper, he 
assented, and turning to me, "but I would much rather 
be in bed" said he. Immediately after supper Mr. and 
Mrs. M. withdrew, the rest of the company danced until 
12, the moment the clock struck that hour, the musick 
stopped, and we all came home tired and sick. "And 
such," said I as I threw myself on the bed, "such are the 
gaiety and pleasures of the world ! Oh give me the soli- 
tude of our cottage, where after a day well spent, I lay 
down so tranquil and cheerful." Never do I recollect 
one night, retiring with such a vacuum, such a dissatisfied 
craving, such a restlessness of spirit, such undefined, 
vague desires, as I now do. No, the world is not the 
abode of happiness, for while we have the weakness of 
humanity about us, vanity, pride, ambition, in some form 
or other will invade and disturb the breast of the humblest 
individual. But when far away from such excitements, 
all within is peace in the performance of known duties ; in 
the enjoyment of intellectual and social pleasures, the best 
part of our nature is satisfied, the ambition of having the 
first blown rose, or the sweetest strawberry, lead only to 


pleasing anxiety and activity, the object of our ambition 
being attainable, we are not tormented by unsatisfied 
desires. After enjoying all the pomp and grandeur of 
the greatest empire in the world, after conquering nations, 
and the most splendid triumphs, Diocletian, this proud 
master of the world, voluntarily forsook these delusive 
pleasures, and often said while tilling his own garden, I 
take more pleasure in cultivating my garden with my own 
hands, and in eating the cabbages I have planted and 
rear'd than in all, that Rome could ever give me. Like 
him, our good and great Jefferson will taste the sweets of 
seclusion. But far happier is our president than the 
Roman Emperor. His retirement is a home endeared by 
the truest friendship ; the most ardent and devoted affec- 
tion, where his children, his grand children and great 
grandchildren, will lavish on him all the peculiar joys of 
the heart. How I have rambled in this long letter, but I 
am sure all these details will be pleasing to you, so I make 
no appology. To you they will not appear extravagant, 
to Maria B. perhaps they will. 

And now for a little of humbler themes. We propose 
this week removing to the country, I never felt more im- 
patient to go, as I propose a number of little improve- 
ments, — such as having a little poultry yard enclosed with 
boards, where I intend raising a great many chickens. 
The well-diggers are to go out very soon, and we shall 
try to get water. Mr. Madison last night enquired 
among other things about this matter. "Truth is at the 
bottom of a well, is the old saying, and I expect when you 
get to the bottom of yours, you will discover most im- 
portant truths. But I hope you will at least find water' 1 
continued he, smiling. Indeed I hope we will, and I am 
sure you join in this wish, knowing how much we suffer 
from the want of it. . . . 

i8o 9 ] MONTICELLO 65 


Monticello, August 1st, 1809. 1 
In a visit Mr. J. made our little cottage last autumn, 
we were speaking of all the various charms of nature, 
storms of winter, "But," said he, "you can here form no 
idea of a snow storm, No, to see it in all its grandeur you 
should stand at my back door ; there we see its progress — 
rising over the distant Allegany, come sweeping and roar- 
ing on, mountain after mountain, till it reaches us, and 
then when its blast is felt, to turn to our fire side, and 
while we hear it pelting against the window to enjoy the 
cheering blaze, and the comforts of a beloved family." 
Well, I have seen those distant mountains over which the 
winter storm has swept, now rearing their blue and misty 
heads to the clouds, and forming a sublime and beautiful 
horrison round one of the finest and most extended scenes 
the eye ever rested on. — I have seen that beloved family, 
whose virtues and affections are the best reward and the 
best treasure of their parent and their country's parent — I 
have seen, I have listened to, one of the greatest and best 
of men. He has passed through the tempestuous sea of 
political life, has been enveloped in clouds of calumny, the 
storms of faction, assailed by foreign and domestic foes, 
and often threatened with a wreck, of happiness and fame. 
But these things are now all passed away, and like the 
mountain on which he stands, fogs and mists and storms, 
gather and rage below, while he enjoys unclouded sun- 
shine. How simple and majestic is his character, my 
affection for him is weighed with much veneration, that, 
meek, humble, gentle and kind, as he is in his manners, 

1 From Mrs. Smith's note book. 


I cannot converse with him, with ease. My mind is 
busied in thinking of what he is, rather than listening 
to what he says. After a very delightful journey of 
three days, we reached Monticello on the morning of the 
fourth. When I crossed the Ravanna, a wild and ro- 
mantic little river, which flows at the foot of the moun- 
tain, my heart beat, — I thought I had entered, as it were 
the threshhold of his dwelling, and I looked around ev- 
erywhere expecting to meet with some trace of his 
superintending care. In this I was disappointed, for no 
vestige of the labour of man appeared ; nature seemed to 
hold an undisturbed dominion. We began to ascend 
this mountain, still as we rose I cast my eyes around, but 
could discern nothing but untamed woodland, after a 
mile's winding upwards, we saw a field of corn, but the 
road was still wild and uncultivated. I every moment 
expected to reach the summit, and felt as if it was an end- 
less road ; my impatience lengthened it, for it is not two 
miles from the outer gate on the river to the house. At 
last we reached the summit, and I shall never forget the 
emotion the first view of this sublime scenery excited. 
Below me extended for above 60 miles round, a country 
covered with woods, plantations and houses ; beyond, arose 
the blue mountains, in all their grandeur. Monticello ris- 
ing 500 feet above the river, of a conical form and stand- 
ing by itself, commands on all sides an unobstructed and 
I suppose one of the most extensive views any spot the 
globe affords. The sides of the mountain covered with 
wood, with scarcely a speck of cultivation, present a fine 
contrast to its summit, crowned with a noble pile of build- 
ings, surounded by an immense lawn, and shaded here 
and there with some fine trees. Before we reached the 
house, we met Mr. J. on horseback, he had just returned 
from his morning ride, and when, on approaching, he 


recognized us, he received us with one of those benignant 
smiles, and cordial tones of voice that convey an un- 
doubted welcome to the heart. He dismounted and 
assisted me from the carriage, led us to the hall thro* a 
noble portico, where he again bade us welcome. I was 
so struck with the appearance of this Hall, that I lingered 
to look around, but he led me forward, smiling as he said, 
"You shall look bye and bye, but you must now rest." 
Leading me to a sopha in a drawing room as singular 
and beautiful as the Hall, he rang and sent word to Mrs. 
Randolph that we were there, and then ordered some 
refreshments. "We have quite a sick family," said he; 
"My daughter has been confined to the sick bed of her 
little son ; my grand-daughter has lost her's and still keeps 
to her room and several of the younger children are in- 
disposed. For a fortnight Mr. and Mrs. Randolph have 
sat up every night, until they are almost worn out." This 
information clouded my satisfaction and cast a gloom 
over our visit, — but Mrs. R. soon entered, and with a 
smiling face, most affectionately welcomed us. Her 
kind and cheerful manners soon dispersed my gloom and 
after a little chat, I begged her not to let me detain her 
from her nursery, but to allow me to follow her to it ; she 
assented and I sat with her until dinner time. Anne, 1 
(Mrs. Bankhead) who had been confined 3 weeks before 
and had lost her child looked delicate and interesting; 
Ellen, my old favorite, I found improved as well as 
grown. At five o'clock the bell summoned us to dinner. 
Mr. Randolph, Mr. Bankhead, and Jefferson R. were 
there. They are 12 in family, and as Mr. J. sat in the 
midst of his children and grand-children, I looked on him 
with emotions of tenderness and respect. The table was 
plainly, but genteely and plentifully spread, and his im- 

1 Jefferson's eldest daughter. 


mense and costly variety of French and Italian wines, 
gave place to Madeira and a sweet ladies' wine. We sat 
till near sun down at the table, where the desert was suc- 
ceeded by agreeable and instructive conversation in which 
every one seemed to wish and expect Mr. J. to take the 
chief part. As it is his custom after breakfast to with- 
draw to his own apartments and pursuits and not to join 
the family again until dinner, he prolongs that meal, or 
rather the time after that meal, and seems to relish his 
wine the better for being accompanied with conversation, 
and during the 4 days I spent there these were the most 
social hours. When we rose from table, a walk was pro- 
posed and he accompanied us. He took us first to the 
garden he has commenced since his retirement. It is on 
the south side of the mountain and commands a most 
noble view. Little is as yet done. A terrace of 70 or 80 
feet long and about 40 wide is already made and in culti- 
vation. A broad grass walk leads along the outer edge ; 
the inner part is laid off in beds for vegetables. This ter- 
race is to be extended in length and another to be made 
below it. The view it commands, is at present its great- 
est beauty. We afterwards walked round the first circuit. 
There are 4 roads about 1 5 or 20 feet wide, cut round the 
mountain from 100 to 200 feet apart. These circuits are 
connected by a great many roads and paths and when 
completed will afford a beautiful shady ride or walk of 
seven miles. The first circuit is not quite a mile round, 
as it is very near the top. It is in general shady, with 
openings through the trees for distant views. We passed 
the outhouses for the slaves and workmen. They are all 
much better than I have seen on any other plantation, but 
to an eye unaccustomed to such sights, they appear poor 
and their cabins form a most unpleasant contrast with the 
palace that rises so near them. Mr. J. has carpenters. 


cabinet-makers, painters, and blacksmiths and several 
other trades all within himself, and finds these slaves ex- 
cellent workmen. As we walked, he explained his future 
designs. "My long absence from this place, has left a 
wilderness around me." "But you have returned," said 
I, "and the wilderness shall blossom like the rose and 
you, I hope, will long sit beneath your own vine and your 
own fig-tree." It was near dark when we reached the 
house; he led us into a little tea room which opened on 
the terrace and as Mrs. R. was still in her nursery he sat 
with us and conversed till tea time. We never drank tea 
until near nine, afterwards there was fruit, which he sel- 
dom staid to partake of, as he always retired immediately 
after tea. I never sat above an hour afterwards, as I 
supposed Mrs. R. must wish to be in her nursery. I 
rose the morning after my arrival very early and went 
out on the terrace, to contemplate scenery, which to me 
was so novel. The space between Monticello and the 
Allegany, from sixty to eighty miles, was covered with 
a thick fog, which had the appearance of the ocean and 
was unbroken except when wood covered hills rose above 
the plain and looked like islands. As the sun rose, the 
fog was broken and exhibited the most various and fan- 
tastic forms, lakes, rivers, bays, and as it ascended, it 
hung in white fleecy clouds on the sides of the mountains ; 
an hour afterwards you would scarcely believe it was the 
same scene you looked on. In spite of the cold air from 
the mountains, I staid here until the first breakfast bell 
rang. Our breakfast table was as large as our dinner 
table; instead of a cloth, a folded napkin lay under each 
plate ; we had tea, coffee, excellent muffins, hot wheat and 
corn bread, cold ham and butter. It was not exactly the 
Virginian breakfast I expected. Here indeed was the 
mode of living in general that of a Virginian planter. 


At breakfast the family all assembled, all Mrs. R's. chil- 
dren eat at the family table, but are in such excellent 
order, that you would not know, if you did not see them, 
that a child was present. After breakfast, I soon learned 
that it was the habit of the family each separately to pur- 
sue their occupations. Mr. J. went to his apartments, 
the door of which is never opened but by himself and his 
retirement seems so sacred that I told him it was his 
sanctum sanctorum. Mr. Randolph rides over to his 
farm and seldom returns until night ; Mr. Bankhead who 
is reading law to his study; a small building at the end 
of the east terrace, opposite to Mr. Randolph's which ter- 
minates the west terrace ; these buildings are called pavil- 
ions. Jefferson R. went to survey a tract of woodland, 
afterwards make his report to his grand father. Mrs. 
Randolph withdrew to her nursery and excepting the 
hours housekeeping requires she devotes the rest to her 
children, whom she instructs. As for them, they seem 
never to leave her for an instant, but are always beside 
her or on her lap. 

Visitors generally retire to their own rooms, or walk 
about the place ; those who are fond of reading can never 
be at a loss, those who are not will some times feel 
wearied in the long interval between breakfast and din- 
ner. The dinner bell rings twice, the first collects the 
family in time to enter the room by the time the second 
announces dinner to be on table, which while I was there 
was between 4 and 5 oclock. In summer the interval 
between rising from table and tea (9 oclock) may be 
agreeably passed in walking. But to return to my jour- 
nal. After breakfast on Sunday morning, I asked Ellen 
to go with me on the top of the house ; Mr. J. heard me 
and went along with us and pointed out those spots in the 
landscape most remarkable. The morning was show'ry, 


the clouds had a fine effect, throwing large masses of 
shade on the mountain sides, which finely contrasted with 
the sunshine of other spots. He afterwards took us to 
the drawing room, 26 or 7 feet diameter, in the dome. 
It is a noble and beautiful apartment, with 8 circular win- 
dows and a sky-light. It was not furnished and being 
in the attic story is not used, which I thought a great pity, 
as it might be made the most beautiful room in the house. 
The attic chambers are comfortable and neatly finished 
but no elegance. When we descended to the hall, he 
asked us to pass into the Library, or as I called it his 
sanctum sanctorum, where any other feet than his own 
seldom intrude. This suit of apartments opens from the 
Hall to the south. It consists of 3 rooms for the library, 
one for his cabinet, one for his chamber, and a green 
house divided from the other by glass compartments and 
doors ; so that the view of the plants it contains, is unob- 
structed. He has not yet made his collection, having but 
just finished the room, which opens on one of the terraces. 
He showed us everything he thought would please or in- 
terest us. His most valuable and curious books — those 
which contained fine prints etc. — among these I thought 
the most curious were the original letters of Cortez to the 
King of Spain, a vol of fine views of ancient villas around 
Rome, with maps of the grounds, and minute descriptions 
of the buildings and grounds, an old poem written by 
Piers Plowman and printed 250 years ago; he read near 
a page, which was almost as unintelligible as if it was 
Hebrew; and some Greek romances. He took pains to 
find one that was translated into French, as most of them 
were translated in Latin and Italian. More than two 
hours passed most charmingly away. The library con- 
sists of books in all languages, and contains about twenty 
thousand vols, but so disposed that they do not give the 


idea of a great library. I own I was much disappointed 
in its appearance, and I do not think with its numerous 
divisions and arches it is as impressive as one large room 
would have been. His cabinet and chamber contained 
every convenience and comfort, but were plain. His bed 
is built in the wall which divides his chamber and cabinet. 
He opened a little closet which contains all his garden 
seeds. They are all in little phials, labled and hung on 
little hooks. Seeds such as peas, beans, etc. were in tin 
cannisters, but everything labeled and in the neatest order. 
He bade us take whatever books we wished, which we 
did, and then retired to our own room. Here we amused 
ourselves until dinner time excepting an hour I sat with 
Mrs. R. by her sick baby, but as she was reading I did 
not sit long. After dinner Ellen and Mr. Bankhead ac- 
companied us in a long ramble in the mountain walks. 
At dark when we returned, the tea room was still vacant ; 
I called Virgina and Mary (the age of my Julia and 
Susan) amused myself with them until their grand papa 
entered, with whom I had a long and interesting conver- 
sation ; in which he described with enthusiasm his retire- 
ment from public life and the pleasures he found in 

Monday morning. I again rose early in order to ob- 
serve the scenes around me and was again repaid for the 
loss of sleep, by the various appearances the landscape 
assumed as the fog was rising. But the blue and misty 
mountains, now lighted up with sunshine, now thrown 
into deep shadow, presented objects on which I gaze each 
morning with new pleasure. After breakfast Mr. J. 
sent E. to ask me if I would take a ride with him round 
the mountain; I willing assented and in a little while I 
was summoned ; the carriage was a kind of chair, which 
his own workmen had made under his direction, and it 


was with difficulty that he, Ellen and I found room in it, 
and might well be called the sociable. The first circuit, 
the road was good, and I enjoyed the views it afforded 
and the familiar and easy conversation, which our socia- 
ble gave rise to; but when we descended to the second 
and third circuit, fear took from me the power of listening 
to him, or observing the scene, nor could I forbear ex- 
pressing my alarm, as we went along a rough road which 
had only been laid out, and on driving over fallen trees, 
and great rocks, which threatened an overset to our socia- 
ble and a roll down the mountains to us. "My dear 
madam," said Mr. J., "you are not to be afraid, or if you 
are you are not to show it ; trust yourself implicitly to me, 
I will answer for your safety ; I came every foot of this 
road yesterday, on purpose to see if a carriage could come 
safely; I know every step I take, so banish all fear." 
This I tried to do, but in vain, till coming to a road 
over which one wheel must pass I jumped out, while 
the servant who attended on horseback rode forward 
and held up the carriage as Mr. J. passed. Poor Ellen 
did not dare to get out. Notwithstanding the terror I 
suffered I would not have lost this ride; as Mr. J. ex- 
plained to me all his plans for improvement, where the 
roads, the walks, the seats, the little temples were to be 
placed. There are two springs gushing from the moun- 
tain side; he took me to one which might be made very 
picturesque. As we passed the graveyard, which is 
about half way down the mountain, in a sequestered 
spot, he told me he there meant to place a small gothic 
building, — higher up, where a beautiful little mound was 
covered with a grove of trees, he meant to place a mon- 
ument to his friend Wythe. We returned home by a 
road which did not wind round the mountain but carried 
us to the summit by a gentle ascent. It was a good road, 


and my terror vanished and I enjoyed conversation. I 
found Mrs. R. deeply engaged in the Wild Irish Boy sit- 
ting by the side of her little patient ; I did not stay long 
to interrupt her, but finding Mrs. Bankhead likewise en- 
gaged with a book, I withdrew to my own room to read 
my Grecian romance. At dinner Mrs. Randolph sent an 
apology, she hurt her eye so badly, that it produced ex- 
cessive inflamation and pain, which obliged her to go to 
bed. After dinner I went up to sit by her, Mr. J. came 
up soon after and I was delighted by his tender attentions 
to their dear daughter. As he sat by her and held her 
hand, for above an hour, we had a long social conversa- 
tion in which Mrs. R. joined occasionally. After he had 
gone, finding her disposed to sleep, I went down. It 
was now quite dark and too late to walk, so I took my 
seat in the tea room with my little girls and told them 
stories till the tea bell again collected the family. 

Tuesday. After breakfast I went up and sat all the 
morning by Mrs. Randolph ; she was too unwell to rise ; 
part of the time I read, but when we were alone, con- 
versed. Our conversation turned chiefly on her father, 
and on her mentioning their correspondence, I begged her 
to show me some of his letters. This she willingly as- 
sented to and it was a rich repast to mind and heart. 
Some of them were written when he was minister in 
France and she in a convent. These are filled with the 
best advice in the best language. His letters come down 
to the last days of his political life ; in every one he ex- 
presses his longings after retirement. She was so. good 
as to give me one of these precious letters. When I went 
down stairs I found Mr. J. in the hall and Mr. S., and 
we had a long conversation on a variety of topics. He 
took us a charming walk round the edge of the lawn and 
showed us the spots from which the house appeared to 


most advantage. I looked upon him as he walked, the 
top of this mountain, as a being elevated above the mass 
of mankind, as much in character as he was in local sit- 
uation. I reflected on the long career of public duties 
and stations through which he had passed, and that after 
forty years spent on the tempestuous sea of political life, 
he had now reached the haven of domestic life. Here 
while the storm roared at a distance, he could hear its 
roaring and be at peace. He had been a faithful labourer 
in the harvest field of life, his labours were crowned with 
success, and he had reaped a rich harvest of fame and 
wealth and honor. All that in this, his winter of life he 
may enjoy the harvest he has reaped. In him I perceive 
no decay of mind or debility of frame and to all the wis- 
dom and experience of age, he adds the enthusiasm and 
ardour of youth. I looked on him with wonder as I 
heard him describe the improvements he designed in his 
grounds, they seemed to require a whole life to carry 
into effect, and a young man might doubt of ever com- 
pleting or enjoying them. But he seems to have trans- 
posed his hopes and anticipations into the existence of his 
children. It is in them he lives, and I believe he finds as 
much delight in the idea that they will enjoy the fruit 
of his present iabours, as if he hoped it for himself. If 
full occupation of mind, heart and hands, is happiness, 
surely he is happy. The sun never sees him in bed, and 
his mind designs more than the day can fulfil, even his 
long day. The conversation of the morning, the letters 
I had read, and the idea that this was the last day I was 
to spend in his society, the last time I was ever to see 
him, filled my heart with sadness. I could scarcely look 
at or speak to him without tears. After dinner he went 
to the carpenter's shop, to give directions for a walking 
seat he had ordered made for us, and I did not see him 


again until after sun-set. I spent the interval in walking 
with Mr. Smith round the lawn and grave, and had just 
parted from him to join the children to whom I had 
promised another story, when as I passed the terrace, Mr. 
J. came out and joined us. The children ran to him and 
immediately proposed a race ; we seated ourselves on the 
steps of the Portico, and he after placing the children 
according to their size one before the other, gave the 
word for starting and away they flew ; the course round 
this back lawn was a qr. of a mile, the little girls were 
much tired by the time they returned to the spot from 
which they started and came panting and out of breath 
to throw themselves into their grandfather's arms, which 
were opened to receive them; he pressed them to his 
bosom and rewarded them with a kiss ; he was sitting on 
the grass and they sat down by him, untill they were 
rested ; then they again wished to set off ; he thought it too 
long a course for little Mary and proposed running on the 
terrace. Thither we went, and seating ourselves at one 
end, they ran from us to the pavillion and back again; 
"What an amusement," said I, "do these little creatures 
afford us." "Yes/' replied he, "it is only with them that a 
grave man can play the fool." They now called on him 
to run with them, he did not long resist and seemed de- 
lighted in delighting them. Oh ye whose envenomed 
calumny has painted him as the slave of the vilest pas- 
sions, come here and contemplate this scene! The sim- 
plicity, the gaiety, the modesty and gentleness of a child, 
united to all that is great and venerable in the human 
character. His life is the best refutation of the calumnies 
that have been heaped upon him and it seems* to" me im- 
possible, for any one personally to know him and remain 
his enemy. It was dark by the time we entered the tea- 
room. I was glad to close the windows and shut out the 


keen air from the mountains. The mornings and even- 
ings are here always cool and indeed Mrs. Randolph 
says it is never hot. As it was the last evening we were 
to pass here, Mr. J. sat longer than usual after tea. All 
the family except Mrs. Randolph were at tea. I gazed 
upon Mr. J. in the midst of this interesting circle and 
thought of the following lines, which I copied from one 
of his letters. 

"When I look to the ineffable pleasures of my family 
society, I become more and more disgusted with the 
jealousies, the hatred, the rancourous and malignant pas- 
sions of this scene, and lament my having ever again 
been drawn into public view. Tranquility is now my 
object; I have seen enough of political honors, to know 
they are but splendid torments; and however one might 
be disposed to render services on which many of their 
fellow citizens might set a value, yet when as many would 
deprecate them as a public calamity, one may well enter- 
tain a modest doubt of their real importance and feel the 
impulse of duty to be very weak," and again, in another 
of a later date, 1797 he says, 

"Worn down here with pursuits in which I take no 
delight, surrounded by enemies and spies, catching and 
perverting every word which falls from my lips, or flows 
from my pen, and inventing where facts fail them, I pant 
for that society, where all is peace and harmony, where 
we love and are beloved by every object we see. And to 
have that intercourse of soft affections, hushed and sup- 
pressed by the eternal presence of strangers, goes very 
hard indeed, and the harder when we see that the candle 
of life is burning out and the pleasures we lose are lost 
forever. I long to see the time approach when I can be 
returning to you, tho' it be for a short time only — these 
are the only times existence is of any value to me, con- 


tinue then to love me my ever dear daughter, and to be 
assured, that to yourself, your sister and those dear to 
you every thing in my life is directed, ambition has no 
hold upon me but through you, my personal affections 
would fix me forever with you. Kiss the dear little 
objects of our mutual love," etc. etc. 

By these dear objects, I saw him now surounded. I 
saw him in the scenes for which his heart had panted, at 
the time when others looked upon his elevated station 
with envy, and did not know that these honors which his 
country lavished on him and which they envied, were 
splendid torments, to his unambitious spirit and affec- 
tionate heart. But why then it will be asked, did he 
not withdraw from public life? A satisfactory answer 
is often found in his letters; in one he says (it was while 
secretary) that he had made up his mind to retire, that 
he had arranged his affairs for it, but contrary to all his 
wishes he was persuaded by his friends of the necessity 
of remaining, that a retreat at that time would be at- 
tributed to timidity or fear of the attacks made by the 
papers and might ruin the party of which he was the 
head. In one of his letters he says — "The real difficulty 
is that once being delivered into the hands of others, 
where feelings are friendly to the individual and warm 
to the public cause ; how to withdraw from them, without 
leaving a dissatisfaction in their minds and impressions 
of pusilanimity with the public." From many other pas- 
sages of his letters, it is evident that his own wishes were 
subordinated to the remonstrances of his friends and to 
the wish of supporting the republican cause, — on which 
he sincerely and honestly believed the happiness of his 
country to depend. 

After tea, fruit as usual was brought, of which he staid 
to partake; the figs were very fine and I eat them with 


greater pleasure from their having been planted rear'd 
and attended by him with peculiar care, which this year 
was rewarded with an abundant crop, and of which we 
every day enjoyed the produce. 

Wednesday morning. Mrs. Randolph was not able to 
come down to breakfast, and I felt too sad to join in the 
conversation. I looked on every object around me, all 
was examined with that attention a last look inspires ; the 
breakfast ended, our carriage was at the door, and I rose 
to bid farewell to this interesting family. Mrs. R. came 
down to spend the last minutes with us, As I stood for a 
moment in the Hall, Mr. J. approached and in the most 
cordial manner urged me to make another visit the en- 
suing summer, I told him with a voice almost choked 
with tears, "that I had no hope of such a pleasure — this," 
said I, raising my eyes to him, "is the last time I fear in 
this world at least, that I shall ever see you — But there is 
another world." I felt so affected by the idea of this last 
sight of this good and great man, that I turned away and 
hastily repeating my farewell to the family, gave him my 
hand, he pressed it affectionately as he put me in the car- 
riage saying, "God bless you, dear madam. God bless 
you." "And God bless you," said I, from the very bot- 
tom of my heart. 

Mr. Smith got in, the door shut and we drove from 
the habitation of philosophy and virtue. How rapidly 
did we seem to descend that mountain which had seemed 
so tedious in its ascent, and the quick pulsations I then 
felt were now changed to a heavy oppression. 

Yes, he is truly a philosopher, and truly a good man, 
and eminently a great one. Then there is a tranquility 
about him, which an inward peace could alone bestow. 
As a ship long tossed by the storms of the ocean, casts 
anchor and lies at rest in a peaceful harbour, he is retired 


from an active and restless scene to this tranquil spot. 
Voluntarily and gladly has he resigned honors which he 
never sought, and unwillingly accepted. His actions, 
not his words, preach the emptiness and dissatisfaction 
attendant on a great office. His tall and slender figure is 
not impaired by age, tho' bent by care and labour. His 
white locks announce an age his activity, strength, health, 
enthusiasm, ardour and gaiety contradict. His face owes 
all its charm to its expression and intelligence; his fea- 
tures are not good and his complexion bad, but his coun- 
tenance is so full of soul and beams with such benignity, 
that when the eye rests on his face, it is too busy in perus- 
ing its expression, to think of its features or complexion. 
His low and mild voice, harmonizes with his countenance 
rather than his figure. But his manners, — how gentle, 
how humble, how kind. His meanest slave must feel as 
if it were a father instead of a master who addressed 
him, when he speaks. To a disposition ardent, affection- 
ate and communicative, he joins manners timid, even to 
bashfulness and reserved even to coldness. If his life had 
not proved to the contrary I should have pronounced him 
rather a man of imagination and taste, than a man of 
judgement, a literary rather than a scientific man, and 
least of all a politician, A character for which nature never 
seemed to have intended him, and for which the natural 
turn of mind, and his disposition, taste, and feeling 
equally unfit him. I should have been sure that this was 
the case, even had he not told me so. In an interesting 
conversation I had one evening — speaking of his past 
public and present domestic life — "The whole of my life," 
said he, "has been a war with my natural taste, feelings 
and wishes. Domestic life and literary pursuits, were 
my first and my latest inclinations, circumstances and not 
my desires lead me to the path I have trod. And like 

i8o 9 J MONTPELIER 81 

a bow tho long bent, which when unstrung flies back to 
its natural state, I resume with delight the character and 
pursuits for which nature designed me. 

"The circumstances of our country," continued he, "at 
my entrance into life, were such that every honest man 
felt himself compelled to take a part, and to act up to the 
best of his abilities." 

August 4th, Montpelier, Wendnesd even. 
The sadness which all day hung on my spirits was 
instantly dispelled by the cheering smile of Mrs. Madison 
and the friendly greeting of our good President. It was 
near five oclock when we arrived, we were met at the 
door by Mr. M. who led us in to the dining room where 
some gentlemen were still smoking segars and drinking 
wine. Mrs. M. enter'd the moment afterwards, and after 
embracing me, took my hand, saying with a smile, I will 
take you out of this smoke to a pleasanter room. She 
took me thro' the tea room to her chamber which opens 
from it. Everything bespoke comfort, I was going to 
take my seat on the sopha, but she said I must lay down 
by her on her bed, and rest myself, she loosened my riding 
habit, took off my bonnet, and we threw ourselves on 
her bed. Wine, ice, punch and delightful pine-apples 
were immediately brought. No restraint, no ceremony. 
Hospitality is the presiding genius of this house, and 
Mrs. M. is kindness personified. She enquired why I 
had not brought the little girls; I told her the fear of 
incomoding my friends. "Oh," said she laughing, "I 
should not have known they were here, among all the 
rest, for at this moment we have only three and twenty 
in the house." "Three and twenty," exclaimed I ! "Why 
where do you store them ?" "Oh we have house room in 
plenty." This I could easily believe, for the house seemed 


immense. It is a large two story house of 80 or 90 feet 
in length, and above 40 deep. Mrs. Cutts soon came in 
with her sweet children, and afterwards Mr. Madison, 
Cutts, and Mr. Smith. The door opening into the tea 
room being open, they without ceremony joined their 
wives. They only peeked in on us; we then shut the 
door and after adjusting our dress, went out on the 
Piazza — (it is 60 feet long) . Here we walked and talked 
until called to tea, or rather supper, for tho' tea hour, it 
was supper fare. The long dining table was spread, and 
besides tea and coffee, we had a variety of warm cakes, 
bread, cold meats and pastry. At table I was introduced 
to Mr. William Madison, 1 brother to the President, and 
his wife, and three or four other ladies and gentlemen all 
near relatives, all plain country people, but frank, kind, 
warm-hearted Virginians. At this house I realized being 
in Virginia, Mr. Madison, plain, friendly, communicative, 
and unceremonious as any Virginia Planter could be — 
Mrs. Madison, uniting to all the elegance and polish of 
fashion, the unadulterated simplicity, frankness, warmth, 
and friendliness of her native character and native state. 
Their mode of living, too, if it had more elegance than 
is found among the planters, was characterized by that 
abundance, that hospitality, and that freedom, we are 
taught to look for on a Virginian plantation. We did not 
sit long at this meal — the evening was warm and we were 
glad to leave the table. The gentlemen went to the 
piazza, the ladies, who all had children, to their chambers, 
and I sat with Mrs. M. till bed time talking of Washing- 
ton. When the servant appeared with candles to show 
me my room, she insisted on going up stairs with me, 
assisted me to undress and chatted till I got into bed. 
How unassuming, how kind is this woman. How can 

1 Of Woodbury Forest, about six miles from Montpelier. 

o a£> 






any human being be her enemy. Truly, in her there is 
to be found no gall, but the pure milk of human kindness. 
If I may say so, the maid was like the mistress ; she was 
very attentive all the time I was there, seeming as if she 
could not do enough, and was very talkative. As her 
mistress left the room, "You have a good mistress Nany," 
said I, "Yes," answered the affectionate creature with 
warmth, "the best I believe in the world, — I am sure I 
would not change her for any mistress in the whole 
country." The next morning Nany called me to a late 
breakfast, brought me ice and water, (this is universal 
here, even in taverns) and assisted me to dress. We sat 
down between 15 and 20 persons to breakfast — and to a 
most excellent Virginian breakfast — tea, coffee, hot wheat 
bread, light cakes, a pone, or corn loaf — cold ham, nice 
hashes, chickens, etc. 


[Washington.] Sunday 6th, 1810. 

. . . . Since we came, we have seen a great deal 
of company; I went to the drawing room one evening, 
and spent a few hours most charmingly seeing and talk- 
ing to at least 50 people I had not seen for a year, but the 
salutations of no one pleased me half so well as those of 
Mr. Quinsey, 1 the moment he saw me, he approached with 
so smiling and friendly a countenance that I involun- 
tarily stretched out my hand which he cordially shook; 
we conversed a long while but the subject of Miss Lowels 
death affected him so much that he abruptly left me, 
twas not long after, I saw him approach Mr. Smith, shake 
hands and then stand and converse with him. I cannot 

1 Josiah Quincy, of Massachusetts, a bitter Federalist, the first man to 
suggest secession in Congress. 


describe to you my dear Maria the sensation of pleasure 
this sight afforded me, but you who knew my anxiety on 
the subject, may judge of it. He told Mr. Smith that 
he wished to ride out with him to Sidney to collect petri- 
faction ; in fine having once broken the ice, no shadow of 
reserve remained. The next day Mr Smith called on 
him and the day after he came here Mr. S. was not at 
home but he came up to our parlour ; it was at the moment 
my alarm for Bayard was first excited. Mrs. Clay was 
sitting with me preparing some wine-drops, while her 
woman was heating water to bathe him. He would not 
sit long and I have not seen him since ; but if he does not 
again call, I mean to send and ask him to tea — I relate 
this first, as the most pleasant circumstance that has oc- 
curred since my arrival. At the drawing-room Fanny 
Clifton sat most of the time by me, she enquired partic- 
ularly after you. 

• •-••« 

After the drawing room evening I did not again leave 
the house and scarcely the room, until new-years day, 
when Mrs. Clay persuaded me to go to the levee, and 
as on the drawing room evening, made her nurse attend 
to Bayard. As for the poor girls, the regular lessons I 
planned to give them are out of the question, for as I 
said before Bayard 1 and company break through all reg- 
ularity, and they have had but one or two lessons; if 
Mr. S. would let me I should immediately send them to 
school, for under present circumstances joined to the 
prospect before me, I do not see how I can possibly teach 

We have a large company in this house — Mr. and Mrs. 
Mumford, 2 Mr. and Mrs. Clay, (Henry Clay the admired 

1 Mrs. Smith's son, who was then an infant a few months old. 

2 Gurdon S. Mumford, Representative from New York. 


orator,) and a number of gentlemen the Vice-President, 
and John Law 1 you know. I have formed habits of 
sociability with Mr. and Mrs. Clay only — Mrs. Clay is a 
woman of strong natural sense, very kind and friendly. 
She often brings work of an evening into our room and 
in the morning I go to hers — we help each other dress 
and she always offers us seats in her carriage when we 
visit together, — or go a shopping, and her woman who 
has been the nurse of all her children, attends to mine 
whenever I wish it. With the rest I have little inter- 
course except at breakfast and dinner. Our parlour is 
as retired as if in our own house. We have our tea 
table set as regularly and as comfortably as at home, and 
Mrs. Wilson endeavors in every way to make us com- 
fortable. She always sends up a snack for the children 
and myself between dinner and breakfast, and whenever 
I want it for supper. After the children go to bed I 
generally sew and if I want company I have only to go 
down stairs, where there is generally a large circle. I 
have only passed one evening down below and that was 
to play chess. We have a great chess player here, Mr. 
Marke from New York — he is invincible. He is a most 
amiable young [man] and I like him the better for being 
the intimate acquaintance of our friends in New York. 
I yesterday morning visited Miss Lansdale, now Mrs. 
Sprigg, her wedding will give rise to a great many parties. 
We are asked to two for the ensuing week, but I feel no 
inclination to go. 

Mrs. Craven is a near neighbor and has been already 
very neighborly. Poor Margaret Wingate is still pur- 
sued by new misfortunes. Her husband has broken 
through all arrangements made for him here and gone to 
New England without any ones knowing when, or if ever 
1 Son of Thomas Law by his first wife. 


he will return. We yesterday dined with a large party at 
Mr. Galatin's, it was a very pleasant party and it would 
do your heart good to see Mrs. Montgomery so fat, and 
rosy, and cheerful and good humour'd. I never admired 
or liked her half as well. 

I wish I could do more justice to your letters my dear 
sisters, for this time excuse me and I will try and do better 
hereafter. But I make no promises, I have ever given up 
resolutions, for I find myself so irresistibly carried down 
the current of circumstance and not piloted by reason. I 
feel every way better since our removal to town and 
never was more sensible to the beneficial effects of society. 
I had grown dull and out of humour with myself, in a 
solitude where I had nothing to divert the irksome- 
ness of indisposition. Adieu my dearest sisters, in every 
mutation, in every vicissitude I am without change, yours 
most affectionately 


[Sidney, Summer of 1811] 
. . . . Monday. For the last 10 days I have re- 
sumed my ordinary occupations and feel as descending 
from an ideal existence to the realities of life. We have 
had many more visitors than usual, my acquaintance have 
been very kind and attentive, but above all the rest Mrs. 
Clay. She is what you call a good woman, but has no 
qualities of mind to attract, — none of the heart to en- 
dear. She is a most devoted mother, and to sew for her 
children her chief, almost exclusive occupation. She 
has no taste for fashionable company or amusements, and 
is a thousand times better pleased, sitting in the room 
with all her children round her, and a pile of work by 
her side, than in the most brilliant drawing room. She 
has shown more affection and kindness of disposition, 


since my sickness, than I believed her capable of. She 
is always showing me and mine some attention, takes me 
out in her carriage whenever I will go, wishes me to 
be often with her. Ann and Julia have just return'd 
after passing a week with her. She trim'd their bonnets 
for them from her own store of ribands, and bought 
Susan a handsome present on her birth-day. This was 
on Thursday last and was without exception the most 
agreeable celebration we ever had. Mr. Cutting in- 
tended to have given us a fete champetre, at the old Cot- 
tage in the afternoon, and I was to have given the dinner, 
but a showery morning disappointed him. But that the 
abundant preparations he had made, might still be as 
much his party as possible, I had a table with benches 
round it in the front Piazza, to which we removed after 
dinner to eat our desert, and which we called going to 
Mrs. Cutting's party. Pine apples, oranges, cakes, sugar 
plumbs nuts figs &c &c adorn'd with the gayest flowers 
and lilies in abundance ; to which elegant repast ( for such 
it really was) I added nothing but ice-creams. Mrs. 
Clay and her six children, two sons of Mr. Lowndes, 
whom he has left here at school, and Mr. and Mrs. Cut- 
ting making 20 including our family, were all the com- 
pany. They came out early and amused themselves 
rifling my flower borders, and making wreaths. Mrs. 
Clay was as much engaged as any of the children and 
as much delighted and she and I were as gaily deck'd as 
the girls. The boys too had their wreaths, some of oak 
and some of myrtle. My dear Lytleton, 1 I must call him 
so, for he feels like my own son, quite charm'd every one, 
he was the very spirit of the frolic and we were all so 
familiar, Mrs. Clay calling him Lytleton and treating him 
with the same familiarity as I did. Ann Clay is half in 
George Littleton Kirkpatrick, her nephew. 


love with him. I wish in all soberness time would ripen 
this inclination, what a charming match it would be. 
She is not too young for him. Now Mary 1 will laugh at 
this and at me. When Mr. Tracy, (who was an impor- 
tant personage on the occasion) brought the cart to the 
door Lytleton and all the boys jump'd in it and went to 
the woods for boughs. L. drove furiously along to the no 
small delight of the boys and soon return'd like the mov- 
ing wood in Macbeth. The Piazza was soon transform'd 
into a bower, — every hand was busy, — Mrs. Clay, Mr. 
Smith and all. When the sun was completely excluded, 
the Pianno was placed at one end of the large piazza and 
the sopha at the other, and a table on which the big bowl 
(which is used only on grand occasions) the birth day 
cake crown'd with lilies and roses and fruit was placed, 
and we drank punch, and eat cake, till they all felt in a 
good humour for dancing. Mrs. Clay was the musician 
and the company with their gay wreaths in this bower 
appear'd very pretty and romp'd rather than danced till 
a late dinner. The day clos'd without finding any one 
weary and the little company dispersed, feeling what in 
this world is so uncommon, that their expectations of 
pleasure had been realized. Ann and Susan go into the 
city tonight with Mrs. Cutting to pass a week. I spend 
tomorrow with Mrs. Clay, in riding about and visiting. 
I feel very sensibly the want of a carriage and would as 
Mary used to say rather have our old one than none. 
This latter part of my letter is for her. So altho' you will 
pay double postage, it will be no more than if the sheets 
had been separately directed. I wish my dear sister if 
our carriage has not left Newark, Brother John 2 would 
put his horses in and bring you here. 

1 Mrs. Kirkpatrick's eldest daughter. 

'John Murray Bayard, the elder brother, who lived eight miles from 
New Brunswick. 



[Sidney] Tuesday, July 20, 18 13. 
. . . . I every day from the time I received 
Maria's, intended writing to press you to come on and 
pass a few weeks or more with us and to bring Fanny 
and Elizabeth. I believed such a jaunt might be highly 
serviceable to you all. But it is now out of the question 
and will be so while the British are such near neighbours 
and continue to menace us. Until the late alarm I have 
never been able to realize our being in a state of war; 
but now when such active preparations are made, when so 
many of our citizens and particular acquaintance have 
marched to meet the enemy, I not only believe but feel 
the unhappy state of our country. Mr. Seaton and Mr. 
Gales * are both with our troops at Warburton, and Mrs. 
Seaton and Miss Gales anxiety naturally excites ours. It 
is generally believed impossible for the English to reach 
the city, not so much from our force at Warburton, tho' 
that is very large, as from the natural impediments ; the 
river being very difficult of navigation. Every pre- 
caution has been taken to ensure the safety of the city. 
Fort Warburton is in a state of perfect defence and our 
troops are each day augmented by hundreds and thou- 
sands from the adjoining country who come pouring in. 
The presence of Genl. Armstrong and Col. Monroe ani- 
mates and invigorates our soldiers. And our little army 
is full of ardour and enthusiasm. Mr. Gales and Seaton 
have each been up to look after the paper and give a most 
interesting and animating picture of the scene. There is 
so little apprehension of danger in the city, that not a 

1 They were brothers-in-law and edited The National Intelligencer from 
1812 to i860, when Gales died. Gales acquired the paper from Mr. Smith 
in 1810. 


single removal of person or goods has taken place, — a 
number of our friends have desired leave to send their 
trunks here and a number have determined to come them- 
selves, should the British effect a passage by the fort, so 
you see we are esteemed quite out of danger. As for our 
enemy at home I have no doubt that they will if possible 
join the British; here we are, I believe firmly in no dan- 
ger, as the aim of those in the country would be as 
quickly as possible to join those in the city and the few 

scatter'd s s about our neighbourhood, could not 

muster force enough to venture on an attack. 1 We have 
however counted on the possibility of danger and Mr. S. 
has procured pistols &c &c sufficient for our defence, and 
we make use of every precaution which we should use 
were we certain of what we now only reckon a possibility. 
In the city and George town the gentlemen who by their 
age or other circumstances are exempted from service, 
have formed volunteer companies both of horse and foot, 
who nightly patrol the streets. The members of con- 
gress have determined to join the citizens, in case of an 
attack and there are many old experienced officers 
amongst them. The affair of Hampton, 2 which I dis- 
believed until the publication in the Intelligencer, in- 
spires us with a terror we should not otherwise have felt. 
There were 300 French men at that attack and it was 
chiefly these wretches who perpetrated these horrors. 
Their intention was to desert to our side and they 
march'd near to our militia with a view to surrender, but 
were fired on and so obliged to fight in their own defence, 
— 20 did desert and are now at the fort. The French 
prisoners taken from the English jails, will it is sup- 
posed, and the Irish likewise all desert the moment they 

1 Wherever there were slaves there was terror of their insurrection. 

2 The village of Hampton, Va., was sacked June 25, 1813, by the British 
and given over to pillage and rapine by Cockburn's orders. 

i8i 3 ] FEARS OF SLAVES 91 

are landed. Mrs. Seaton behaves with admirable self 
command, I quite admire her composure and serenity, as 
I am certain loving as she loves her amiable husband, 
it must require great effort. We one and all resist the 
intrusion of useless anxiety and alarm. We go on reg- 
ularly with our every day occupations. I spend the 
morning in my family affairs and school. Ann sits with 
our guests and after dinner we all assemble and while 
the rest sew, Miss Gales reads some amusing book. If 
we did not resolutely adhere to this plan of occupation our 
fancy would augment our fears and we should be sad 
enough. As it is we are quite animated, each strength- 
ens the resolution of the other and since we have been so 
well provided with fire arms, my apprehensions have 
quite ceased. For those whom I fear'd are easily intimi- 
dated. Mr. Smith has this morning gone in to the Bank, 
and Mrs. Seaton and Miss Gales, to see Mr. Seaton who 
has come up to arrange the paper. If Susan is with you, 
read or show her this letter as you think proper, or if at 
Princeton and you think it may allay her anxiety, please 
to send it. Ann is quite a Heroine. She makes no protes- 
tations but her cheerfulness and freedom from unneces- 
sary alarm shows that she is not easily intimidated. 
She is a dear good girl. I love her every day more and 
more. And if danger comes, I shall not think of or 
risque more for my children than her. We expect Mrs. 
Clay, her sister Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Cutting and many 
others to come to us in case of a serious alarm. At 
present all the members and citizens say it is impossible 
for the enemy to ascend the river, and our home enemy 
will not assail us, if they do not arrive. . . . 



[Sidney,] August 2d, 1813. 

.... An agreeable change in our affairs, has 
produced a delightful change in my feelings. Mr. S. has 
received an appointment 1 to a new and most respectable 
office, which will enable us to pass our winters in the 
city. I cannot describe what a revolution it has pro- 
duced in my feelings. I now feel no dread of the winter. 
. . . . New scenes, new objects, new characters, will 
carry our thoughts and feelings abroad; we shall have 
something to think of and feel for besides ourselves. 
. . . . I expect in many ways this change will be 
highly beneficial to our sisters and children. For Mr. 
Smith and myself we were quite contented and happy, 
tho' both of us still retain a sufficient relish for society, 
to be pleased with prospects of passing a few months of 
the year in the city. 

It was a most unlooked for affair, and offer'd by Mr. 
Madison in the most flattering and obliging manner. It 
was quite as much of a surprise to Mr. S. as to myself. 
We had laid all our plans in the country for the next 3 or 
4 years, and some serious regret mingles with the pleas- 
ure Mr. Smith feels. He took very great delight in his 
rural occupations and was healthier and happier than I 
have ever known him. But the interests of the family 
conquered every selfish feeling. . . . 

1 Commissioner of the Revenue. He held the office till it was abolished 
by law. 

i8i 4 ] G. W. CAMPBELL'S TALENT 93 


[Washington] Feb. 13th, 18 14. 

. . . . Yesterday Mrs. Clay passed the day with 
us. She brought her children, — in the evening some gen- 
tlemen dropped in and we were unusually gay, the chil- 
dren danced, Mrs. Clay and Mr. Taylor 1 sang for them 
while they danced, then Mr. Smith and Mr. Fisk 2 played 
checkers, Ann and Mrs. Stevens chess, Susan and I 
sewed, — this easy, social, gay manner of passing the eve- 
ning is better than a ball. After the children were tired 
of dancing, Mr. Taylor (of New York) took up Mar- 
mion which lay beside him, and read the first introduc- 
tion, with all the enthusiasm of a poet, which I am told 
he is. You will occasionally see his speeches in the paper 
and will judge whether the talents ascribed him, are 
justly so or not. He is by far the most agreeable new 
acquaintance we have made. All our new appointments 
have been surprises. 8 years ago G. W. Campbell 3 ad- 
dressed Eliza Bell, who rejected him. She was very am- 
bitious and he then an obscure member of Congress. Mr. 
S. then said, If it is greatness she desires, she will repent 
her refusal, for I predict that G. W. C. will attain great 
eminence, and may one day be our President. This he 
said from an intimate knowledge of his talents. He has 
ever since silently but surely been adding to his influ- 
ence and usefulness and has for some time been looked 
up to as the head of the republican party in the senate. 

Mr. Bacon is an old acquaintance of ours, he is a man 
of great financial talents and always very respectable on 

1 John W. Taylor, a Representative, subsequently Speaker of the House. 

2 Jonathan Fisk, of Newburgh, N. Y., a Representative. 

3 Of Tennessee. He had just resigned from the Senate to be Secretary 
of the Treasury. 


the floor of congress. 1 Mr. Rush 2 has risen early and un- 
expectedly, but I am mistaken if he does not aspire to still 
higher dignities. His manners are extremely concilia- 
tory and popular, his father's over again. The dear 
children are all well. Susan and Julia I fear make little 
progress at school, dancing excepted. We have no good 
schools here. . . . 


Washington. March 13, 18 14. 
. . . . When I first came to the city, I found my- 
self almost as much a stranger as I did 12 yrs ago, and 
when I recalled to mind that society which had so often 
circled round our fireside and beheld them scatter'd over 
the world, separated by the waves of the Atlantic, some 
by the ocean of eternity, sadness and sorrow mingled with 
the pleasure of recollection. Altho' destitute of those 
strong and tender ties with which affection and friend- 
ship bind me to other places, Washington possesses a 
peculiar interest and to an active, reflective, and am- 
bitious mind, has more attractions than any other place 
in America. This interest is daily increasing, and with 
the importance and expansion of our nation, this is the 
theatre on which its most interesting interests are dis- 
cuss'd, by its ablest sons, in which its greatest characters 
are called to act, it is every year, more and more the 
resort of strangers from every part of the union, and all 
foreigners of distinction who visit these states, likewise 
visit this city. There are here peculiar facilities for 
forming acquaintances, for a stranger cannot be long 
here, before it is generally known. The house of repre- 

1 Ezekiel Bacon, of Massachusetts, Comptroller of the Treasury. 

2 Richard Rush, the Attorney General, son of Benjamin Rush, the Signer. 




T3 co 

i8i 4 ] THE "DRAWING ROOM" 95 

sentatives is the lounging place of both sexes, where ac- 
quaintance is as easily made as at public amusements. 
And the drawing-room, — that centre of attraction, — af- 
fords opportunity of seeing all these whom fashion, 
fame, beauty, wealth or talents, have render'd celebrated. 
It has this winter been generally very much crowded, 
seldom has the company been less than 2 or 300, and gen- 
erally more. I cannot tell you what an interest is im- 
parted to this assembly by the entrance of some celebrated 
personage. I was there the evening of Perry's first ap- 
pearance and had some interesting conversation. The 
last evening we were there, the room was empty, there 
were not above 50 or 60 persons, — after tea we adjourned 
to the music room, which is comparatively small, 3 or 4 
sophas surrounded the fire and we form'd quite a social 
circle. I have not this winter passed a more agreeable 
evening. Ann, who has been long kept at home, was 
very much admired and really looked very beautiful. 
Mr. Ogilvie, who is quite the Ton here and Mr. Forsythe, 1 
the universal favorite of the wise men, and fashionable 
women, were quite devoted to her. For myself, seated in 
one corner of a sopha, conversation with 4 or 5 agreeable 
and intelligent men pass'd the time most pleasantly away. 
Mr. Forsythe promises to be one of our most distin- 
guished men, he is now allowed to be the greatest orator 
on the floor of congress. You may perhaps recollect him 
and his brother at Princeton. I knew him there and we 
have lately renewed our acquaintance. He is a young 
man of genius, fine taste, a most animated, engaging, 
prepossessing countenance ; most attractive manners, Ann 
says winning. I am afraid he will be spoiled, — he is so 
much carress'd and admired, particularly by the girls, 

1 John Forsyth was then a Representative from Georgia, later a Senator, 
Minister to Spain and Secretary of State under General Jackson. 


who think because he is a married man, they need not 
conceal the pleasure his charming conversation affords. 
The debates in congress have this winter been very at- 
tractive to the ladies. Mr. Ingersol, 1 is among the num- 
ber of orators most admired. But Mr. Pinckney 2 car- 
ries the palm from all the congressional orators, Forsythe 
excepted. His resignation of his office, seems to have 
added to his popularity, and animated him in his pro- 
fessional pursuits. Never have his talents been displayed 
with such power and brilliancy. Curiosity led me 
against my judgement, to join the female crowd who 
throng the [Supreme] court room. A place in which I 
think women have no business. The effect of female 
admiration and attention has been very obvious, but it 
is a doubt to me whether it has been beneficial, indeed I 
believe otherwise. A member told me he doubted not, 
there had been much more speaking on this account, and 
another gentleman told me, that one day Mr. Pinckney 
had finished his argument and was just about seating him- 
self when Mrs. Madison and a train of ladies enter'd, — he 
recommenced, went over the same ground, using fewer 
arguments, but scattering more flowers. And the day 
I was there I am certain he thought more of the female 
part of his audience than of the court, and on concluding, 
he recognized their presence, when he said, "He would 
not weary the court, by going thro a long list of cases to 
prove his argument, as it would not only be fatiguing to 
them, but inimical to the laws of good taste, which on 
the present occasion, (bowing low) he wished to obey." 
The court was crowded while he spoke ; the moment he sat 
down, the whole audience arose, and broke up, as if the 

Charles I. Ingersoll, of Philadelphia, a Representative. 

2 William Pinkney, of Maryland (Mrs. Smith spells the name wrong; the 
Pinckneys being the South Carolina family), had just resigned the Attorney 


court had adjourn'd. The women here are taking a sta- 
tion in society which is not known elsewhere. On every 
public occasion, a launch, an oration, an inauguration, in 
the court, in the representative hall, as well as the draw- 
ing room, they are treated with mark'd distinction. Last 
night Mr. Ogilvie while he censured the frivolous, ele- 
vated the rest of our sex, not only to an equality but I 
think to a superiority to the other sex. I think the man- 
ners here different from those in other places. At the 
drawing room, at our parties, few ladies ever sit. Our 
rooms are always so crowded, that few more could find 
a place in the rooms, the consequence is, the ladies and 
gentlemen stand and walk about the rooms, in mingled 
groups, which certainly produces more ease, freedom and 
equality than in these rooms where the ladies sit and wait 
for gentlemen to approach to converse. 

Tuesday morning. I resume my pen, and as Mr. 
Stevens who was here last evening inform'd me he was 
going in a few days, I will scribble on, hoping to amuse, 
even at the risque of wearying you. Mr. Ogilvie has this 
moment left us, he found Susan, Ann, Mrs. Cutting and 
myself busied with our needles ; he brought a new work 
of Lord Byron's the "Bride of Abydos," — he would not 
read it to us, but presented it to Ann who in return is 
hemming him some cravats. I think you would have 
agreed with him in his criticisms, which tho' it approved 
the harmony and fancy of the poet, condemn'd the princi- 
ples, sentiments, misanthrophy and morbid sensibility of 
the man. In speaking of true sensibility, (that which 
feels for others as for ourselves) he said it was like the 
bee, which tho' it cull'd sweets from everything in crea- 
tion, carried a sting with it. Last evening after dining 
en famille at the Presidents he came here with Mr. Jones, 1 

1 Probably Charles Jones. 


one of our most respectable citizens, in wealth, talents 
and station. John G. Jackson, 1 Mr. Stevens and other 
gentlemen were here. The conversation took a charm- 
ing turn and it was half past twelve, e'er we thought it 
ten. Mr. O. never recites in private, as he used to, but 
his witicisms are instructive and amusing. I know not 
whether he can be called a man of original genius, but 
he is certanly one of highly cultivated taste, a man of 
great research, not only in classical learning, but in nat- 
ural history, philosophy and morals. Whatever his own 
opinions are, respecting religion I know not, but I have 
never heard him in public or private, utter a sentiment 
that could wound or offend the most pious. We are 
going this evening to hear his recitations. How much 
more rational these amusements than our balls or parties. 
He receives the most flattering attentions and is not a 
day disengaged. . . . 


Brookville. [Md.,] August, [1814.] 
On Sunday we received information that the British 
nad debark'd at Benedict. They seem'd in no haste to 
approach the city, but gave us time to collect our troops. 
The alarm was such that on Monday a general removal 
from the city and George Town took place. Very few 
women or children remain'd in the city on Tuesday eve- 
ning, altho' the accounts then received were that the 
enemy were retreating. Our troops were eager for an 
attack and such was the cheerful alacrity they display'd, 
that a universal confidence reign'd among the citizens and 
people. Few doubted our conquering. On Tuesday we 
sent off to a private farm house all our linen, clothing and 
1 Representative from Virginia. 


other movable property, in the afternoon Dr. Bradley's 
family came from the city and took tea with us, — the 
Dr. said several citizens from the camp brought informa- 
tion of the enemy's remaining quiet at N. Marlborough, 
but that 3 of the volunteer companies, ,* David- 
sons and Peters were order'd to attack the Pickets and 

draw the B on to a general engagement. This was 

the last news ; until we were roused on Tuesday night by 
a loud knocking, — on the opening of the door, Willie 
Bradley called to us, "The enemy are advancing, our own 
troops are giving way on all sides and are retreating to 
the city. Go, for Gods sake go." 2 He spoke in a voice 
of agony, and then flew to his horse and was out of sight 
in a moment. We immediately rose, the carriage and 
horses were soon ready, we loaded a wagon with what 
goods remained and about 3 oclock left our house with 
all our servants, the women we sent to some private farm 
houses at a safe distance, while we pursued our course. 
I felt no alarm or agitation, as I knew the danger was not 
near. I even felt no distress at the idea of forsaking our 
home. I could not realize the possibility of the B. gain- 
ing possession of the city, or of our army being defeated. 
We travel'd very slowly and as it was dark I walk'd part 
of the way. Ann was equally composed. At sunrise we 
stop'd to breakfast at Miss Carrol's and then pursued our 
journey. The girls were quite delighted with our flight, 
novelty has such charms at their age, that even the ex- 
change of comfort and peace, for suffering and distress, 
has its charms. Even for myself, I felt animated, in- 
vigorated, willing to encounter any hardship, calmly to 
meet any danger, patiently to bear any difficulty. I suf- 
fer'd considerable pain during the ride, and fear'd every 
moment being taken ill, but happily I was not, and we 
1 Illegible. 2 The battle took place August 24. 


all reach'd this place at one oclock in perfect health. We 
received a most kind reception from Mrs. Bently, and 
excellent accommodations. The appearance of this vil- 
lage is romantic and beautiful, it is situated in a little 
valley totally embosom'd in woody hills, with a stream 
flowing at the bottom on which are mills. In this se- 
cluded spot one might hope the noise, or rumour of war 
would never reach. Here all seems security and peace ! 
Happy people may you never be obliged to fly from this 
peaceful spot, which now affords so hospitable a shelter 
to our poor citizens ! 

Thursday morning. This morning on awakening we 
were greeted with the sad news, that our city was taken, 
the bridges and public buildings burnt, our troops flying 
in every direction. Our little army totally dispersed. 
Good God, what will be the event ! This moment a troop 
of horse have enter'd, they were on the field of battle, 
but not engag'd. Major Ridgely 1 their commander, dis- 
approving Genl. Winder's order, refused to obey, left the 
army and is taking his troops home. E. Riggs, who was 
likewise there has given us a sad detail. He was in 
Loughbourough's, who with ten men form'd a recon- 
noitering party, and Riggs was employed in carrying 
messages from Winder. His account was that the first 
skirmish was near Marlborough, where Peters, David- 
son's and Strul's ( ?) companies were ordered to attack 
the enemies picquets, but on finding how inefficient their 
force were, order'd to retreat, which they did in great dis- 
order. Winder finding the enemy marching on the Bla- 
densburg turnpike, forsook the posts he had taken and 
march'd towards the city, where they station'd them- 
selves on the hills near Bladensburg bridge. The enemy 
march'd on in solid column and attack'd with coolness, 
1 One of the Maryland militia officers. 


and order. The 5th regiment from Baltimore com- 
menced the attack and stood their ground firmly, but for 
a short time only, they were almost destroy'd and our 
whole troops gave way and began a disor'd retreat. The 
President who was on the ground, escap'd and has gone 
into Virginia. Winder with all the men he can collect 
are at the court house. He has directed our poor broken 
militia to make the best of their way to Baltimore. Every 
hour the poor wearied and terrified creatures are passing 
by the door. Mrs. Bently kindly invites them in to rest 
and refresh. Major Ridgely's troop of horse all break- 
fasted in town, that not a man was left to breakfast in the 
tavern. Ann and I hasten'd to assist Mrs. B. in getting 
their breakfast, — and Julia and Susan wanted to do 
something, help'd to set the table, &c. 

Noon. We were much alarm'd by Mr. Milligan, who 
called and told Mr. Smith, Genl. Winder had ordered him 
to come here for an express, that Montgomery C. H. 
was burnt by the British, who were then on their march 
for Frederick. But a person who knew him assured us 
he was crazy, his account afterwards proved untrue, as 
a great many have passed since. Our men look pale 
and feeble but more with affright than fatigue, — they 
had thrown away their muskets and blankets. 

Just as we were going to dinner, a tremendous gust 
arose, it has broken the trees very much, in the midst of 
it, a wagon came to the door with a family going they 
knew not whither. Poor wanderers. Oh how changed 
are my feelings, my confidence in our troops is gone, they 
may again be rallied, but it will require a long apprentice- 
ship to make them good soldiers. Oh my sister how 
gloomy is the scene. I do not suppose Government will 
ever return to Washington. All those whose property 
was invested in that place, will be reduced to poverty. 


Mr. Smith had invested a large portion of his in bridge 
stock, — both the bridges are destroy'd, — it serves to be- 
guile the time to write, so my dear sister I will write a 
kind of journal to you, and send it when I can. I wish 
you to keep it. If better times come, it will serve to 
remind me of these. 

Thursday evening. Our anxiety has been kept alive 
the whole day. Our poor men are coming in some two 
or three, sometimes a dozen at a time, just now another 
troop of horse have come in, they have not been in the 
engagement, as they did not arrive until a retreat had 
been order'd. Mr. Carr one of the clerks of the Bank 
was here just now and has given us the most correct 
account we have yet had. Our position was a bad one, 
so placed that neither the artillery or cavalry could act. 
Barney 1 took a position on a hill, the enemy had to pass 
and as they ascended rak'd them prodigiously but they 
never halted one moment, but marched on in solid mass, 
disregarding the dead bodies that fell before them. Bar- 
ney and his men did not leave their cannons until they 
were within 5 yrds, then spik'd them and retreated, — 
Barney badly wounded. They [the enemy] never left 
the turnpike but enter'd the city after our retreating 
army. They first march'd to the navy yard which is 
wholly consumed ; then to Capitol Hill. They had great 
difficulty in firing the capitol, several houses on the hill 
were burnt by cinders from the Capitol, but none by de- 
sign, the President's house, the Potomac bridge, and all 
the other public buildings. Mr. Lee went to their camp 
at Marlborough (as a citizen unmolested) conversed with 
the officers, several of whom he had known in London. 
They told him that resistance would be vain; that in- 

1 Captain Joshua Barney, U. S. N., was the only man who reaped glory 
in this, the greatest disgrace to American arms. 


stead of 7000, they wished we had 40,000 militia, as it 
would make the greater confusion. They bade Mr. Lee 
tell the citizens that private property would not be in- 
jured, if the houses were not deserted, or private persons 
molested, that they intended to destroy the public build- 
ings and shipping, and then to march to Baltimore on 
one side while Lord Hill with his fleet would attack it 
by water. I left our house with reluctance, but when I 
urged Mr. Smith to let me remain to protect the house, 
he would not hear of it, his duty called him away, and 
my situation being so critical, he said no consideration 
would induce him to leave me, for altho' the troops when 
under their officers might behave well, yet small parties 
or drunken soldiers might alarm or injure me in my 
present situation. And Ann declared she would not 
leave me if she were to die by my side. I had therefore 
to yield. I am afraid the consequence of leaving the 
house empty will be its destruction. Our house in the 
city too is unprotected and contains our most valuable 
furniture. In a week more and we may be penniless! 
for I count little on the continuance of Mr. S.'s salary. 
God only knows when the executive government will 
again be organized. But I can say with truth, the in- 
dividual loss of property, has not given me a moment's 
uneasiness. But the state of our country, has wrung 
tears of anguish from me. I trust it will only be mo- 
mentary. We are naturally a brave people and it was 
not so much fear, as prudence which caused our retreat. 
Too late they discovered the dispreparation of our troops. 
The enemy were 3 to 1. Their army composed of con- 
quering veterans, ours of young mechanics and farmers, 
many of whom had never before carried a musket. But 
we shall learn the dreadful, horrid trade of war. And 
they will make us a martial people, for never, never will 


Americans give up their liberty. But before that time 
comes, what sufferings, what reverses, what distress 
must be suffer'd. Already, in one night, have hundreds 
of our citizens been reduced from affluence to poverty, for 

it is not to be expected W will ever again be the 

seat of Govt. Last night the woods round the city and 

G. T were filled with women and children and old 

men and our flying troops. One poor woman, after wan- 
dering all night, found at day light she wander'd 10 miles, 
— a lady in our neighbourhood, the wife of one of Mr. 
S.'s clerks, went out of her senses, her son was in the 
army. Mrs. Genl. Mason, 1 that lovely woman whom you 
knew, is likewise laying dangerously ill. Her husband 
was in the engagement and her anxiety has render'd a 
common fever dangerous. I am going tomorrow to see 

Night, 10 oclock. The street of this quiet village, 
which never before witnessed confusion, is now fill'd with 
carriages bringing out citizens, and Baggage waggons 
and troops. Mrs. Bently's house is now crowded, she 
has been the whole evening sitting at the supper table, 
giving refreshment to soldiers and travellers. I suppose 
every house in the village is equally full. I never saw 
more benevolent people. "It is against our principles," 
said she this morning, "to have anything to do with war, 
but we receive and relieve all who come to us." The 
whole settlement are quakers. The table is just spread 
for the 4th or 5th time, more wanderers having just 

I know not when you will get this letter. I suppose 
the mail will be impeded. How is Maria, — is N. Y. 
menaced. My health is improved, thank a kind Provi- 

1 Wife of Armistead Thomson Mason, then Colonel of a cavalry regiment. 
He was killed in a duel by his brother-in-law John M. McCarty. They 
fought with muskets at six paces on the famous Bladensburg duelling ground. 

i8i 4 ] ILLNESS OF MRS. MASON 105 

dence, the event so dreaded has not taken place and I 
now begin to think I shall continue well. I have not 
yet read this letter. I know not what I have written. I 
thought you would be anxious for intelligence, for tho' 
you were no friend to Washington, yet the recent event 
is interesting to the nation. The enemy are in the centre 
of union ! 

I will now bid you good night, — let Maria and Susan 
Smith know we are safe. Susan particularly, — she will 
be miserable. 

Farewell, dearest sister, God grant this letter may con- 
tain more news, than I may ever have occasion to write 
again. Farewell, 


Brookville, August. [1814]. 

Saturday morning. On Thursday evening I closed 
my letter to you. The next morning soon after break- 
fast I went to see Mrs. Mason. She had found refuge 
in a farm house, with a poor but respectable family, about 
4 miles from this place. She had her 3 eldest daughters 
with her and 2 servant maids. She was very ill, of a 
highly inflamatory billious fever. When I enter'd her 
chamber her spirits were much affected. She was too 
ill to talk, but when I offered to stay, gladly accepted the 
offer. She felt cheerless and desponding, had no confi- 
dence in her young physician or servants, who indeed 
seem'd very ignorant. She thought herself in danger, 
if not of her life, yet of derangement of mind, so con- 
tinued and violent was the pain in her head. I imme- 
diately took on the functions of a nurse and being much 
accustomed to her disease, I soon succeeded in procuring 
her entire relief from the pain of her head, and other 


alarming symptoms. I did not leave her a moment dur- 
ing the day and sat up part of the night. Dr. Worthing- 
ton, her physician arrived. He distress'd me excessively 
by his conversation. He exulted in the defeat of our 
army in the capture of our city. "Did I not tell this," 
said he, "I suppose, Mrs. Smith, your wise men will now 
believe a standing army a necessary thing and a navy in 
the bargain." "If they do" (I answer'd) "they will cer- 
tainly aim at establishing them, for however mistaken 
in judgement, be assured sir, in all their measures, the 
administration have honestly and sincerely endeavour'd 
to promote the welfare of their country. It was be- 
lieved, and all history has proved it to be so, that a stand- 
ing army is an instrument of despotism; but if our lib- 
erties cannot be preserved without ; the lesser evil will be 
chosen, — the risk run." "I do not allow," said he, "a 
standing army to be the instrument of despotism, but I 
allow it to be inseparable from a monarchy." "I am not 
competent to discuss such questions, Sir, but I beg at such 
a moment as this, you will not thus seem to rejoice at 
what every friend of his country must mourn over." 
The tears started in my eyes, and seeing my distress 
silenced him at the time, tho' every now and then his 
evident satisfaction broke forth. Surely it is not possi- 
ble that such is the disposition of all the federal party, no, 
no, few I hope could speak as he did. On Saturday 
morning Genl. Mason arrived, this was joyful tidings for 
his poor wife. I left them together and did not see the 
Genl. until breakfast. He appeared excessively har- 
rass'd. He and Mr. Rush had never left the President 
since our disgraceful retreat. He had crossed over with 
him into Virginia, where he had collected troops and 
2000 brave fellows then following his steps to our poor 
city, commanded by Genl. Hungerford a revolutionary 


officer. Wherever they pass'd, they as well as our flying 
forces were received with the most affectionate kindness, 
not only at large houses but at every hovel ; the women 
came out with milk, bread, spirits, or something to offer 
the weary soldiers and to press them to rest and refresh. 
Everywhere he met indignation at the invading force and 
an alacrity to march against them, but the most prominent 
sentiment was mortification at the precipitate retreat of 
our army. The President and himself had arrived the 
night before and staid at Mrs. Bently's where we were. 
Mrs. Mason begged him not to stay one moment on her 
account, but urged him to depart that he might to the 
utmost serve his country. After breakfast he return'd 
to Brookville, soon after Mr. Smith sent for me and I was 
obliged to leave this amiable woman. She parted with 
me with reluctance as I was the only one near her who 
had any experience in her disease. When I arrived to- 
day at Brookville, the President and his suite had gone. 
The girls were very sorry I had been absent, as the scene 
in B. had been novel and interesting. Just at bed time 
the Presd. had arrived and all hands went to work to pre- 
pare supper and lodgings for him, his companions and 
guards, — beds were spread in the parlour, the house was 
filled and guards placed round the house during the night. 
A large troop of horse likewise arrived and encamp'd for 
the night, beside the mill-wall in a beautiful little plain, 
so embosom'd in woods and hills. The tents were scat- 
ter'd along the riverlet and the fires they kindled on 
the ground and the lights within the tents had a beauti- 
ful appearance. All the villagers, gentlemen and ladies, 
young and old, throng'd to see the President. He was 
tranquil as usual, and tho' much distressed by the dread- 
ful event, which had taken place not dispirited. He ad- 
vised Mr. Smith to return to the city, whither he was 


himself going. Mr. Monroe and some other gentlemen 
join'd him and about noon he set off for our suffering 
city. The rest of the day we pass'd tranquilly. It is 
now night, all around is quiet. All the inhabitants of this 
peaceful village sleep in peace. How silent! How 
serene! the moonlight gilds the romantic landscape that 
spreads around me. Oh my God, what a contrast is this 
repose of nature, to the turbulence of society. How 
much more dreadful is the war of man with man, than 
the strife of elements. On Thursday the hurricane 
which blew down houses, tore up trees and spread terror 
around, pass'd in a few minutes and nature recovered her 
tranquility. But oh my country, when will the destroy- 
ing tempest which is now ravaging and destroying thy 
property and happiness, when will that be hushed to peace ! 
At this moment, escaped from danger, I, and my family, 
all I hold most dear, are safe. But when I think of my 
good fellow citizens, when I think of our poor soldiers, 
flying on every part, sinking under fatigue and pain and 
hunger, dying alone and unknown, scattered in woods 
and fields — when I think of these horrors, I can hardly 
enjoy my own security. 

Tuesday 30. Here we are, once more restored to our 
home. How shall I be sufficiently thankful for the mer- 
cies I have experienced. Once more the precious objects 
of my affection are gathered round me under our own 
roof. But how long shall I enjoy this blessing! The 
blast has pass'd by, without devastating this spot. But the 
storm is not yet over, dark, gloomy, lowering is the pros- 
pect, and far more dreadful scenes may be impending. 
Never did I feel so affected, so hopeless and sunk, as I 
did yesterday in the city. Oh my sister, what a sight! 
But to resume my journal. On Sunday morning we left 
Brookeville. Our ride was pleasant. All the way we 

i8i 4 ] RETURN TO SIDNEY 109 

were conjecturing how we should find our dwelling. 
We saw no vestige of the late scene, till we approach'd 
the gate that open'd in to our farm, then in the woods 
we saw a cannon whose carriage was broken, near the 
ruins of our cottage. On descending the hill, at the foot 
of a tree we saw a soldier sleeping on his arms, — leaving 
the woods we saw four or 5 others crossing the field and 
picking apples. When we reach'd the yard, a soldier 
with his musket was standing by the gate and asked per- 
mission to get a drink. These men were only passing 
over the farm. We found the house just as we had left 
it, and the vestige of no enemy, but the hurricane of 
Thursday which had blown down fences and trees. Julia 
and Ann cook'd us up a little dinner and in the afternoon 
we rode to the city. We pass'd several dead horses. 
The poor capitol! nothing but its blacken'd walls re- 
mained! 4 or 5 houses in the neighbourhood were like- 
wise in ruins. Some men had got within these houses 
and fired on the English as they were quietly marching 
into the city, they killed 4 men and Genl. Rosse's horse. 
I imagine Genl. R. thought that his life was particularly 
aim'd at, for while his troops remained in the city he 
never made his appearance, altho' Cochburn and the 
other officers often rode through the avenue. It was on 
account of this outrage that these houses were burnt. 
We afterwards look'd at the other public buildings, but 
none were so thoroughly destroy'd as the House of Rep- 
resentatives and the President's House. Those beauti- 
ful pillars in that Representatives Hall were crack'd and 
broken, the roof, that noble dome, painted and carved 
with such beauty and skill, lay in ashes in the cellars be- 
neath the smouldering ruins, were yet smoking. In the 
P. H. not an inch, but its crack'd and blacken'd walls re- 
main'd. That scene, which when I last visited it, was so 


splendid, throng' d with the great, the gay, the ambitious 
placemen, and patriotic Heros was now nothing but ashes, 
and was it these ashes, now trodden under foot by the 
rabble, which once possess'd the power to inflate pride, to 
gratify vanity. Did we ever honour the inhabitants of 
this ruin the more for their splendid habitation, — was this 
an object of desire, ambition, envy? Alas, yes and this is 
human grandeur! How fragile, how transitory! Who 
would have thought that this mass so solid, so mag- 
nificent, so grand, which seem'd built for generations to 
come, should by the hands of a few men and in the space 
of a few hours, be thus irreparably destroy'd. Oh van- 
ity of human hopes ! After this melancholy survey, Mr. 
Smith went to see the President, who was at Mr. Cutts' 
(his brother in law) where we found Mrs. Madison and 
her sister Mrs. Cutts. Mrs. M. seem'd much depress'd, 
she could scarcely speak without tears. She told me she 
had remained in the city till a few hours before the En- 
glish enter'd. She was so confident of Victory that she 
was calmly listening to the roar of cannon, and watching 
the rockets in the air, when she perceived our troops rush- 
ing into the city, with the haste and dismay of a routed 
force. The friends with her then hurried her away, (her 
carriage being previously ready) and she with many 
other families, among whom was Mrs. Thornton and 
Mrs. Cutting with her, retreated with the flying army. 
In George town they perceived some men before them 
carrying off the picture of Genl. Washington (the large 
one by Stewart) which with the plate, was all that was 
saved out of the President's house. Mrs. M. lost all her 
own property. The wine, of which there was a great 
quantity, was consumed by our own soldiers. Mrs. M. 
slept that night in the encampment, a guard being placed 
round her tent, the next day she cross'd into Virginia 






where she remained until Sunday, when she return'd to 
meet her husband. Men, soldiers, expresses were round 
the house, the President was in a room with his cabinet, 
from whence he issued his orders. The English frigates 
were laying before Alexandria and as it was supposed 
only waiting for a wind to come up to the city. The belief 
was that about 700 or more sailors were to be let loose 
in the city for plunder, dreadful idea. A universal des- 
pondency seem'd to pervade the people, — we every where 
met them in scatter'd groups, relating or listening to their 
fears. We drank tea at Mrs. Thornton's, who described 
to us the manner in which they conflagrated the Presi- 
dent's H. and other buildings, — 50 men, sailors and 
marines, were marched by an ofhcer, silently thro' the 
avenue, each carrying a long pole to which was fixed a 
ball about the circumference of a large plate, — when ar- 
rived at the building, each man was station'd at a win- 
dow, with his pole and machine of wild-fire against it, 
at the word of command, at the same instant the windows 
were broken and this wild-fire thrown in, so that an in- 
stantaneous conflagration took place and the whole build- 
ing was wrapt in flames and smoke. The spectators 
stood in awful silence, the city was light and the heavens 
redden'd with the blaze ! The day before Cockburn paid 
this house a visit and forced a young gentleman of our 
acquaintance to go with him, — on entering the dining 
room they found the table spread for dinner, left pre- 
cipitally by Mrs. M, — he insisted on young Weightman's 
sitting down and drinking Jemmy's health, which was the 
only epithet he used whenever he spoke of the President. 
After looking round, he told Mr. W. to take something 
to remember this day. Mr. W. wished for some valu- 
able article. No, no said he, that I must give to the 
flames, but here, handing him some ornaments off the 


mantle-piece, these will answer as a memento. I must 
take something too, and looking round, he seized an old 
hat a chapeau de bras of the President's, and a cushion off 
Mrs. M.'s chair, declaring these should be his trophies, 
adding pleasantries too vulgar for me to repeat. When 
he went to burn Mr, Gale's office, whom he called his 
"dear Josey" ; Mrs. Brush, Mrs. Stelle and a few citizens 
remonstrated with him, assuring him that it would occa- 
sion the loss of all the buildings in the row. "Well," said 
he, "good people I do not wish to injure you, but I am 
really afraid my friend Josey will be affronted with me, 
if after burning Jemmy's palace, I do not pay him the 
same compliment, — so my lads, take your axes, pull down 
the house, and burn the papers in the street." This was 
accordingly done. He told Mrs. Brush and several 
others, that no houses should be injur'd but such as were 
shut and deserted. Mr. Cutting and Mrs. B. saved ours, 
by opening the windows. Cockburn often rode down 
the avenue, on an old white mare with a long main and 
tail and followed by its fold to the dismay of the spec- 
tators. He, and all his officers and soldiers were per- 
fectly polite to the citizens. He bade them complain of 
any soldier that committed the least disorder and had 
several severly punished, for very slight offenses. All 
provisions were paid for. He stop'd at a door, at which 
a young lady was standing and enter'd into familiar con- 
versation. "Now did you expect to see me such a clever 
fellow," said he, "were you not prepared to see a savage, 
a ferocious creature, such as Josey represented me ? But 
you see I am quite harmless, don't be afraid, I will take 
better care of you than Jemmy did !" Such was his man- 
ner, — that of a common sailor, not of a dignified com- 
mander. He however deserves praise and commenda- 
tion for his own good conduct and the discipline of his 


sailors and Marines, for these were the destroying agents. 
The land troops and officers were scarcely seen while in 
the city, but kept close qrs at the navy yard. Cockburn 
had ordered Col. Wharton's and Capt. Tingey's (?) 
houses (both public property) and the barracks and arse- 
nal to be burnt, but on a remonstrance from the citizens, 
and an assurance the fire would destroy private property 
he desisted, "I want to injure no citizen," said he, "and 
so your Barracks may stand." I must praise his modera- 
tion, indeed his conduct was such as to disarm the preju- 
dices that existed. During the stay of their troops in the 
city, it was so still you might have heard a pin drop on 
the pavement. The negroes all hid themselves and in- 
stead of a mutinous spirit, have never evinced so much 
attachment to the whites and such dread of the enemy. 
I could fill sheets with similar anecdotes, but the above 
will give you an idea of Cockburn. They left the city 
precipitately, from the idea that Winder was collecting 
his forces and would by going round them, cut off their 
retreat to their ships. And this could have been done, 
and our poor soldiers were willing and able for any 
enterprise, but their commanders, — Ah their command- 
ers, Armstrong and Winder on their shoulders lies the 
blame of our disastrous flight and defeat. Our men were 
all eager to fight and were marching on with a certainty 
of victory, more than 2000 had not fired their muskets, 
when Armstrong and Winder gave the order for a re- 
treat, and to enforce that order added terror to authority ! 
The English officers have told some of our citizens that 
they could not have stood more than 10 minutes longer 
that they had march'd that day 13 miles, and were ex- 
hausted with thirst, heat and fatigue. It is said 2 Irish 
regiments wish'd to be taken and were on the point of 
joining us when the retreat commenced. I have con- 


versed with many of our officers and men. All agree in 
this statement, that the troops wish'd to fight, and were 
full of spirit and courage. The English expected great 
resistance. Yesterday when in the city I conversed with 
a great many citizens, they were all disponding, dis- 
hearten'd. The President is determined on making a 
resistance in case the enemy return. But our citizens 
sent a deputation begging him not to attempt it, as it 
would be ineffectual, and would only be making them and 
the roofs that shelter'd them a sacrifice. "They now," 
they said, "had neither their honor or property to loose. 
All they valued was gone." The President's orders 
however, were enforced and all day yesterday while I 
was in the city I saw them collecting. Troops are or- 
der'd from all around, and 3000 are expected tonight. 
Alexandria has surrender'd its town with all their flour 
and merchandize and the frigates are now laying before 
that town, loading the Alexandria shipping with the 
goods of the citizens. What will be our fate I know not. 
The citizens who remain'd are now moving out, and all 
seem more alarm'd than before. I brought Eliza Doyne 
(that was) out with me. Mrs. Brush is coming out this 
evening and has sent out all her furniture. I prefer offer- 
ing our house as an asylum to the poor than the rich. 
There is dreadful individual suffering, — one of Mr. S.'s 
clerk's was here this morning, his house and furniture 
were all burnt, even his clothing and he and his family are 
reduced to penury. Hundreds, I may say thousands of 
our flying troops pass'd thro our farm after the engage- 
ment. The English got within half a mile of us and 
have plunder'd our neighbours on the adjoining farms, — 
the intervening wood hid us from them. On their re- 
treat through Bladensburg they have done a great deal 
of injury, destroying furniture, carrying off cattle &c. 


The consternation around us is general. The despond- 
ency still greater. But / look forward with hope, our 
troops are again collecting and altho' the poor citizens 
are dishearten'd by the fate of their city, the rest of 
the army are still willing to fight. Universal execration 
follows Armstrong, who it is believed never wished to 
defend the city and I was assured that had he pass'd thro' 
the city the day after the engagement, he would have 
been torn to pieces. The district certainly was not in a 
state of preparation, whether from want of ability or 
want of inclination on the part of the administration we 
can not know. The city was capable of defence and 
ought to have been defended. But we will retrieve, yes 
I trust we will retrieve our character and restore our cap- 
ital. Oh that I a feeble woman could do something! 
This is not the first capital of a great empire, that has 
been invaded and conflagrated ; Rome was reduced still 
lower by the Goths of old, than we are, and when its sen- 
ate proposed removing the seat of government, they were 
answered, Romans would never be driven from their 
homes, Rome should never be destroy'd. May a Roman 
spirit animate our people, and the Roman example be 
followed by the Americans. Meanwhile, you will ask 
for some domestic details. We are in that state of con- 
fusion, which with our clothes and furniture all re- 
moved you may imagine. Mrs. Brush and Mrs. Gram- 
mar (E. Doyne) are added to our family. Every hour 
brings a different rumour ; we know not what to believe 
and scarcely what to hope. We are determined how- 
ever not again to quit the house, but to run all risques 
here, as we find our enemy not so ferocious as we ex- 
pected and that property is much endanger'd by quitting 
it. I shall persuade Ann to go to Brookville and take 
the children, if more alarming intelligence arrives. I am 


now so harden'd to fatigue and alarm, that I do not fear 
my health will suffer. The same external symtoms con- 
tinue and I am astonished I am not much weakened by 
so long a continuation. But I am not [torn out] no 
depression, but feel wound up to be [torn out.] I trust 
when the hour of alarm or trial comes I shall be enabled 
to support it. Ann is as composed and easy as if all was 
peace. She is all that is kind and attentive to me and 
the children, and in the absence of our servants, she and 
Julia do everything. Do not be so anxious about us my 
dearest sister. The back is fitted to the burden. As yet, 
my strength has not been tryed. I trust not in myself, — 
the firm, the innate, the deep felt conviction that every 
thing is over ruled by a great and a good God, reconciles 
me to every event. The late astonishing events in Eu- 
rope, and the dreadful ones here, seem to have so sunk all 
human grandeur, all human concerns in my estimation, 
and human life appears so short, so very short, that 
instead of anxiety, I feel almost indifference. All will 
soon be past, whether life is spent in suffering or enjoy- 
ment, is of little moment, so that it is well spent, — we 
cannot suffer long. External circumstances are of little 
consequence, so that in all we do our duty. Such are my 
reflections; and my whole effort now, is not to escape 
from suffering and danger, but to be active in the per- 
formance of the duties they bring with them. Please to 
send my letter to Maria. I cannot write over, — dear, 
dear sister adieu. Do not be anxious about me, — I am 
not uneasy myself. 



Sidney Sept 1 1 . [1814] 
. . . . The affairs of our country grow more and 
more gloomy; last night the perusal of the papers made 
me quite melancholy, at Plattsburgh, N. London, N. 
Haven, all was consternation and alarm, families remov- 
ing their property, and many, I suppose, as in this place 
wandering from their homes, without knowing where to 
find a shelter. All around our neighborhood was fill'd ; 
those who could not get into houses encamp'd in the 
woods. In our old church there were 9 families. At 
Mrs. Fries 5 families with 18 children with scarcely any- 
thing to eat. Every day we are hearing of new instances 
of the cruelty of the soldiery and individual suffering. 
It has been the poor who have been the principle suffer- 
ers. At Bladensburgh which was inhabited chiefly by 
poor persons, the gentlemen having large houses and 
farms around the houses are much damaged by cannon 
ball &c — many of them occupied by the British wounded 
and our wounded men. (The army left all of their 
wounded for us to take care of) — The poor owners thus 
excluded, their gardens, corn fields and enclosures laid 
waste ; their horses all taken. In the army's march from 
Benedict they made tents and beds of all the green corn, 
for which purpose they cut down whole fields. I am 
told this country (from Benedict to Washington) is 
totally laid waste ; you can scarcely get anything for man 
or horse to eat. They strip'd the people of their cloth- 
ing, taking women's and even children's clothes. All 
this was done by the straggling parties of soldiers who 
robb'd only the poor. At Bladensburg, Marlboro' and 
Wood Yard, the officers had guards placed around the 


houses of many considerable and wealthy persons and 
obtruded no further than to go to lodge, breakfast or 
dine with the gentlemen, except where they found houses 
empty and deserted, in which case they generally de- 
stroyed them. We ran a great risque in deserting ours. 
We are again establish'd and I now think nothing (ex- 
cepting an army of Cossacks) shall induce me again to 
leave it. The battle was very near to us. In the next 
farm, there was skirmishing, and 10 dead bodies were 
found (of the enemy) some only 4 or 5 days ago. A 
poor old lady, one of our nearest, neighbors, heard the 
bullets rattling around her house and has found a good 
many in the yard. I say I will remain, tho' all who did, 
say nothing would induce them to again go through such, 
scenes. I have heard of two persons I knew, who have 
lost their senses, and several I have seen are very much 
alter'd in their looks. Mrs. Bradley is the only one who 
would go thro' the same scenes again — she is generally 
timid, but she says when the hour of trial came, courage 
came with it. Several hundred of our flying troups 
were at her house, she dress'd their wounds and gave 
them meat and drink. I am persuaded the enemy lost 
many more than was at first supposed, as bodies are daily 
found, unburied, under bushes, in gulleys. Alas poor 
wretches, how many anxious hearts in England may be 
looking for your return! The wounded and prisoners 
who remain, all express themselves delighted with this 
country, many who have been in France and Spain, say 
they never saw so beautiful or so rich a country and won- 
der how so happy a people could go to war. It is sup- 
posed between 4 or 500 blacks have either [obliterated] 
taken. They have behaved well, been quiet, and [oblit- 
erated] in general appear to dread the enemy as much as 
we do. Thus we are spared one evil and the one I had 


most dread of. Muskets, cartridge boxes, were found 
by ioo's and in possession of the blacks, who have all 
cheerfully given them up, to the persons sent to look for 
and collect them. Our black men found 3 on our farm, 
which they immediately gave up. Citizens have re- 
turned and are slowly and despondently resuming busi- 
ness, but society and individuals have received a shock it 
will require a long time to recover from. I now begin 
to feel a little composed and able to resume my ordinary 
employments. Mr. Smith has lost considerably by the 
destruction of the Bridges, in both of which he had in- 
vested a large sum. We shall make some change in our 
living, so as to reduce our expenditures. We have given 
up our house in the city, as it was much wanted and we 
shall not go there next winter. Excuse me for writing 
on one subject only. It is the only one of which we talk 
or think. But our country, our poor country. It seems 
surrounded. No place seems safe. I will not begin on 
another sheet, but conclude this with begging you my 
dear sister to write as soon as you can. All our family 
are perfectly well. Matty as well as ever she was in her 
life, she was quite safe during the alarm, in an obscure 
farm I had sent her to. 


Lone house — by the way side. [1815] 
What a novel letter I could write you if I but had the 
time and if the passing stage will not take me up, I shall 
have time enough, for here I must stay till they do, if 
its all day and night too. A few miles this side of Ches- 
ter, our stage broke, but the mud was so deep, the gen- 

1 Mrs. Smith was on her way to Philadelphia to visit her brother Andrew 
Bayard, President of the Commercial Bank of Philadelphia. She finished 
the letter in Philadelphia. 


tlemen would not let me get out, we all sat on the upper 
side, (one of the braces was broke and the carriage 
rested on the axel) and were drag'd thro' the mud to 
this house, about two miles off. It was ten o'clock and 
the people all abed and it was a long time before we 
could waken them. At last the door was open'd by a 
nice good looking old quaker lady, with fear and trem- 
bling however. There were no men and no assistance 
of any kind — the moon was just down and the night so 
foggy that the driver said it would be very dark. I 
therefore begged the old lady to keep me all night. The 
gentlemen said they could get on the horses or walk and 
as they were anxious to get on, they bade me farewell 
and commended me to the lady's care. It was eleven 
o'clock before they got off, the stage supported by an old 
rail. I then begged my good quaker, to take me to the 
kitchen fire, as I was very cold and wet. My feet had 
been wet all day, and getting in and out of the stages in 
the rain, for it had rain'd hard all day, had wet my 
clothes. Two sweet looking young women got up and 
soon made a fine fire. I got in to the chimney corner, 
for the chimney was like old Mrs. Tracy's, undress'd and 
dried and warm'd myself. I ask'd them if it would not 
be too much trouble, if they could give me something for 
supper. They said they really had nothing at all in the 
house they didnt often accommodate people, it being a 
house just for the market folks to stop at. I told them a 
bowl of tea, with brown sugar would do, for I felt chilly 
and weary. They put on the tea kettle, and on my asking 
for an egg, found one. They seem'd curious about me, 
and when I told them that I came from Washington, I 
became an object of curiosity to them and they asked 
me a hundred questions, — particularly about its being 
taken by the British, and about slaves. While my kettle 


was boiling, I sat in one corner and the old lady in the 
other corner of the chimney. She was a pale, delicate 
looking woman, with an uncommonly sweet face. She 
regretted much having no better accomodation, but I told 
her truly it was more agreeable than a public house, that 
I could feel as if she was my mother, at least take as good 
care of me and that her daughters were just the age of 
mine. Here I must say, a few tears would in spite of me 
break from my full heart, at the thought of home dear 
home — dangers being now over my courage was over 
too. The dear old lady was so kind. In a few mo- 
ments I went on with my history of the taking and burn- 
ing of Washington, which all listen'd eagerly to, while 
we sat cowering over the fire. I related all the little 
anecdotes I could remember, our fears at Sidney, and 
when they heard that I could fire a pistol and had slept 
with a loaded pistol under my head, and Ann with a pen- 
knife in her bosom, they were lost in astonishment and 
look'd on me as something wonderful. The simplicity 
of the good folks amused me and their extreme interest 
excited me to tell them all about Ross Cockburn &c &c 
I could recollect and like the old soldier I sat by the "fire 
and show'd how fields were won" — lost I mean. When- 
ever I was about to pause, they begg'd me to go on. 
My little table was put in the corner by me, my bowl 
of tea and one egg and two crackers I was wrapped in 
my flannel gown, and my clothes hung round the stove 
to dry. The sheets for my bed were hung on a chair 
before the blaze, and if I had indeed been her daughter 
she could not have been more careful of me, but there 
was a sick child upstairs whom they had to watch by. 
I therefore summon'd up courage to go to bed alone 
(the only thing I dreaded) they took me thro' five or 
six doors, into another house which had been built in 


addition to this. I requested the candle might be left. 
In vain I tried to sleep. It was raining and blowing, the 
windows and doors rattling. I became every moment 
more nervous, something in the room, threw a shadow 
on the wall exactly like a coffin — that night week dear 
Elizabeth had died — her image, almost herself was by 
me, the candle was almost out, I trembled so the bedstead 
shook under me. I felt almost sure if left in the dark 
I should fall into some kind of fit, at last I jump'd up 
and without waiting to put on my flannel gown, I took 
my almost expiring candle, determined to find my way 
to the kitchen, and if I could not find another candle, to 
sit in the chimney corner all night. I open'd the door of 
a chamber next me, hoping some one of the family might 
be there, but I saw a bedstead, the idea tha( some one 
might have just died there struck me. I dared not look 
farther, but found my way down stairs into a large empty 
room, with four doors, I opened the one nearest to me, 
the wind rushed in and blew out my candle. I then 
groped all round the room. Two doors were bolted, at 
last I found one that yielded to my hand, I open'd it, but 
knew not where I was and was afraid of falling down 
steps. I thought it best to return to my chamber, tho' 
with a horror I cannot describe — then I thought I would 
sit down in the empty room on the floor. The windows 
shook with the storm, as if they would have fallen in — the 
wind blew most violently and some open door was creak- 
ing and slaming. I shook, so I could scarcely stand and 
was quite unable to find the door at the foot of the stairs. 
At last, some one called out — Who's there ? I answer'd 
and the old woman came to me with a light, and look'd 
quite frightened to see me there. She took me in the 
kitchen, — the fire was still burning, and they had been 
making up bread, &c. I told them I felt unwell and had 

i8i 5 ] MRS. SMITH'S TERROR 123 

come down for another candle — they mixed me a glass 
of toddy, as they saw me shaking as if I had an ague. 
After I got warm'd I began one of the stories that had 
interested them so much and was very eloquent indeed, 
in hopes of beguiling them to sit up an hour or two with 
me, but they were too sleepy, for even my most wonderful 
stories to keep them awake. At last finding neither 
Cochburn's murders, nor negro conspiracies, nor Georgia 
negro buyers could keep their eyes open, I again ask'd 
for a bed fellow and said I felt so lonely I could not sleep. 
But the daughter could not be spared, and I again re- 
turned with a whole candle and crept into bed, where the 
kind girl tucked me in. But it was in vain, I repeated 
poetry and exerted my reason. I whose courage had that 
morning been so admired and extoll'd by my fellow trav- 
ellers, when in danger of losing my life was now ill with 
imaginary terrors. After about an hour, I heard doors 
opening and shutting then foot steps ascending the stairs 
— then some one at my door, who whispered, "Are you 
awake?" To which I gladly answered "Yes," for even 
the entrance of robbers would have been welcome. But 
it was my good old lady, who feeling uneasy, had made 
her youngest daughter, a little girl the size of Anna Maria 
get up and brought her to me as a bed fellow. The 
moment I felt warm flesh and blood near me and her little 
arm round me my trembling and shiverings ceased and 
soon I drop't into a sweet sleep, from which I was 
awaken'd by a bright sun, shining in my windows. My 
pretty bed fellow assisted to dress me and when I went 
down in the sitting room, I found a fine looking grey- 
headed old man that put me in mind of Mr. K. He 
was the father of the family, and I had again in answer 
to his questions to relate my dangers and hair breadth 
escapes. A little breakfast table was set for me, and 


when done they cut this sheet of paper out of a book for 
me and with an old stub of a pen, I am sitting by the stove 
to write. No stage has yet pass'd. I think it probable 
the roads were so dangerous near the Susquehanah and 
so deep elsewhere, something may have happen'd and 
that they will not be along till in the evening or night, 
like us. I can find no book in the house, so for my own 
amusement as well as yours will write on, if it be all day 
and by way of making it answer for a chapter in the 
great work, will go into details in the novel style — this 
will be killing two birds with one stone. 

Now to begin my journal. Like all other times of 
war and peace, it affords little to say. My ride to Balti- 
more was as pleasant as on a summer's day, my compan- 
ion a very agreeable man who knew everybody I knew in 
New York, and we talked of all the old acquaintance of 
twenty and 30 years back — he told me who he was, his 
business and family. I told him who I was, my husband's 
business and our family and before we reached Baltimore 
felt like old acquaintance. When the stage stopp'd we 
were taken into the stage office and found on enquiry, 
not a single passenger was going on to Philad. Mr. 
Dey, said if I would wait he would go to the other stage 
office and enquire. There were a parcel of men standing 
round, but no one offer'd me a chair. I asked one of 
them to carry my letter into Mr. Williamson. Soon after 
the bar keeper came and asked me to walk into a parlour, 
where a very genteel young man, came and in the most 
respectful way, enquir'd what he could do for my ac- 
comodation, stating his father was very ill, but he would 
execute any commands I might give him. When he 
understood my wishes, he begg'd me to walk in a better 
parlour up stairs, while he would go to the other stage 
office and learn what passengers there were, begging 


me to feel quite at home and order what I pleased. He 
soon return'd, likewise Mr. Dey, with information there 
were two gentlemen going on to Philad. I then ordered 
a slight dinner, while Mr. D. went to take my seat and 

speak to the gentlemen and Mr. The stage 

stopp'd and I left off. In the stage were very clever 
people, but you may judge of the state of the roads, 
when I was four hours coming 1 5 miles. At four o'clock 
I got safely here, but alas not to find all as happy as I 
had hoped, the whole family were in the greatest anxiety 
as Sally was very ill. I did not see sister or Elizabeth 
untill this morning, her life was in danger I believe for 
some hours, at one, the child was born — it was six 
months, it is still alive but no probability of its living. I 
hope Sally is out of danger, but poor sister and brother 
are very, very anxious. In this state of the family I feel 
in the way, tho' all are kind enough to persuade me to 
stay longer, I think it best to go tomorrow. Brother 
would have gone with me, had not this event occur'd. 
Oh how frail is the tenure of human felicity. This happy 
family may soon be plunged into the greatest grief. 
Mrs. Bayard, Caroline, Susan and Mrs. Hodge 1 and 
several other friends came in to see me and have been 
again this morning. I can scarcely steal time for a few 
lines, and am writing with them all around me. All are 
unsettled, going and coming from Sally's. I feel anx- 
ious but shall go tomorrow. I am perfectly well, all the 
better for the exposure and adventures I have met with. 
I meant to give you an account of the passage of the 
Susquehannah, and the rest of my journey, but now I 
feel in no spirits to write it. All our friends and con- 
nections of all the different families are in deep mourn- 

1 Mrs. Smith's mother, Col. Bayard's first wife (he was married three 
times), was Margaret Hodge. Her visitors were all members of her family. 


ing. I do not want the girls to get any, but it might be 
as well to lay aside their gay ribbons. Things seem 
very different here and at Sidney — they have just come 
in to say Sally is much better and has fallen asleep. This 
is very favorable. I wrote those few lines from Elketon 
under the impression the mail to Washington would be 
missing, but it was the northern mail which was deranged. 
I cannot write more now, for every moment some one 
is coming in. Heaven bless you all. 

I cannot even read over what I have written. 


Monticello, August 6 — 16 
I have received, dear Madam, your very friendly let- 
ter of July 21, and assure you that I feel with deep 
sensibility its kind expression towards myself, and the 
more as from a person than whom no others could be 
more in sympathy with my own affections. I often call 
to mind the occasion of knowing your worth which the 
societies of Washington furnished; and none more than 
those derived from your much valued visit to Monticello. 
I recognize the same motives of goodness in the solicitude 
you express on the rumor supposed to proceed from a 
letter of mine to Charles Thomson, on the subject of the 
Christian religion, it is true that, in writing to the 
translater of the Bible and Testament, that subject was 
mentioned ; but equally so that no adherence to any par- 
ticular mode of Christianity was there expressed; nor 
any change of opinions suggested, a change from what? 
The priests indeed have heretofore thought proper to 

1 Mr. J. Henley Smith read this letter before the Historical Society 
of the District of Columbia, and it was printed in The Evening Star, Feb. 6, 
1900, and in the proceedings of the Society for that year. 


ascribe to me religious, or rather anti-religious, senti- 
ments of their own fabric, but such as soothed their 
resentments against the Act of Virginia for establishing 
religious freedom. They wish him to be thought atheist, 
deeist, or devil, who could advocate freedom from their 
religious dictations, but I have ever thought religion a 
concern purely between our God and our consciences for 
which we were accountable to him, and not to the priests. 
I never told my own religion nor scrutinized that of 
another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wish 
to change another's creed. I have ever judged of the 
religion of others by their lives ; and by this test, my dear 
Madam, I have been satisfied yours must be an excellent 
one, to have produced a life of such exemplary virtue and 
correctness, for it is in our lives and not from our words, 
that our religion must be read. By the same test, the 
world must judge me. 

But this does not satisfy the priesthood, they must 
have a positive, a declared assent to all their interested ab- 
surdities. My opinion is that there would never have 
been an infidel, if there had never been a priest. The 
artificial structure they have built on the purest of all 
moral systems for the purpose of deriving from it pence 
and power revolts those who think for themselves and 
who read in that system only what is really there. These 
therefore they brand with such nicknames as their enmity 
chooses gratuitously to impute. I have left the world in 
silence, to judge of causes from their effects; and I am 
consoled in this course, my dear friend, when I perceive 
the candor with which I am judged by your justice and 
discernment ; and that, notwithstanding the slanders of the 
Saints, my fellow citizens have thought me worthy of 
trust. The imputations of irreligion having spent their 
force, they think an imputation of change might now be 


turned to account as a bolster for their duperies. I shall 
leave them as heretofore to grope on in the dark. 

Our family, at Monticello is all in good health. Ellen 
speaking of you with affection, and Mrs. Randolph al- 
ways regretting the accident which so far deprived her 
of the happiness of your former visit. She still cherishes 
the hope of some future renewal of that kindness; in 
which we all join her, as an assurance of affectionate 
attachment and respect. Th. Jefferson. 


[Washington,] Wednesday morning. [1816] 
Good Heavens! my dear sister, what a picture have 
you drawn of my good, my old friend Col. Johnson. The 
most tender hearted, mild, affectionate and benevolent of 
men. He a man of blood! He delight more in the 
sword than the Pen! He, whose countenance beams 
with good will to all, whose soul seems to feed on the milk 
of human kindness! No indeed, never did he draw his 
sword, but to defend his invaded country. War is not his 
trade, and when he fought, it was not for hire. At the 
time when the western states were attack'd, he by his own 
personal influence rais'd a volunteer corps of young men 
of family and education, who follow'd him thro' every 
danger, hardship and suffering to our frontier, and with 
a deep river on one side, an impassable marsh on the 
other, he attack'd a large body of indians, with a cool 
and determined bravery, which none but great souls can 
[torn out]. During his march thro' the enemy's country, 
the women and children of the English came to him for 
protection, and never came in vain. He would not allow 
his men to pick even an apple from a tree, tho' often 


almost fainting from want. After vanquishing the en- 
emy he return'd home, covered with glory and wounds, 
and more than ever beloved by his countrymen, and is 
now without any comparison the most popular and re- 
spected member from Kentucky. Mr. Clay would stand 
no chance if opposed to him. He is a man of domestic 
habits and disposition, and his mild and amiable dis- 
position was not alter'd by a short campaign. Last 
winter when he defended the widow and the orphan's 
cause (in the case of Mrs. Hamilton) 1 as pathetically 
as eloquently, there was scarcely a dry eye in the house. 
His eloquence is not that of imagination, but of the 
heart. His mind is not highly cultivated, or rather I 
should say his taste. He has always been too much a 
man of business to have much time for reading. He 
is one of the leading men in Congress, and therefore on 
a number of committees. He might have been quite a 
fashionable man, as he is always invited to parties. But 
he preferr'd home and is plain in dress and manners. I 
should not so warmly have vindicated a favorite, but that 
I shrewdly suspect he is a great admirer of your daughter. 
And I most sincerely believe, if she wished it, she might 
convert him into your son. He was here all last evening 
and hung or if you please sat enamour'd by her while she 
play'd and sung. But Mary does not much fancy him. 
She thinks him too much too old (he is about 40), then 
he wants grace, polish and a fashionable [torn out] and 
above all he lives in Kentucky. Now I think the last is 
the only objection, in all other respects, (as far as I nozv 
know) for my own part I should like him for a son. 
But Mary only laughs at all I can say, and like other 
young girls thinks she has the world before her to choose 

1 Johnson advocated the bills for relief of widows of Revolutionary sol- 
diers in several impassioned speeches. 


and will not have one who to solid worth does not join 
the graces and everything which is requisite to a perfect 
character. I shall make close inquiries of Mrs. Clay 
about his family &c before he visits much oftener, in case 
of consequences. I have passed the last 4 days and nights 
almost exclusively with Mrs. Clay, who has lost a lovely 
infant of three months old with the whooping cough. 1 
Mrs. Brown (her sister) Mrs. Lowndes and myself di- 
vided the task of attending it, and on Monday night it 
died in my arms. I shall pass this evening with her in- 
stead of the drawing room, to which otherwise we should 
have gone, as Mrs. Madison, who was here the other 
morning, press'd us, particularly the young folks, to come 
every evening, and this is to be a full evening. But they 
seem quite contented to stay at home. . . , 


[Washington,] Deer. 5th 1816. Thursday morning. 

. . . . We were at the drawing room last night, 
there were not above 200 people, and it was too thin to 
feel at one's ease. A crowd is certainly animating. 

Just as I was dressed and just putting the finishing 
touches by the parlour glass, the door opened, without 
a knock and in come Mrs. Caldwell and Mr. Finley, 2 
ushered in by Lytleton. I had een to put on my hand- 
kerchief and tie on my ribands before them. Mrs. C. 
had forgotten it was drawing room evening. I told Mr. 
F. he had better go along, — meaning it quite for a joke, 
but he took it quite in earnest, and said, Why really he 

1 This was their ninth child. They had eleven, six daughters and five 

2 Rev. Robert Finley, of New Jersey, a Presbyterian divine, who founded 
at this time the American Colonization Society. 


should like it very much. "But," said I, "what are you 
to do with your boots?" "Why, certainly, a clergyman 
may go in boots." "I don't know," said I, "but I should 
be afraid a clergyman's boots would tear the ladies' 
dresses as much as any other." "Well," said Mrs. Cald- 
well, "there is a shoe store near, and he can get a pair of 
shoes." "Agreed," said Mr. F., "if Lytleton will show 
me the way." Accordingly they went, and when he came 
back, he assured us everything favoured his going for the 
very first pr. of shoes that he took hold of fitted him. 
His toilet was finished before the parlour looking glass, 
and off we set, leaving Lytleton who would not go, (not 
being yet equip'd) and Mrs. Caldwell with the girls. I 
wanted Mary or Ann to ride with the dominie, but he 
insisted on my enjoying a tete-a-tete ride with him ; this 
was the first frolic he said he had had since he accom- 
panied me 20 years ago to the fourth of July party. I 
of course was led in by the parson, and had to show him 
how to take my hand and lead me in &c. Mr. Smith 
led Mary, Mr. Todd Ann. I anticipated a crowded room 
and own I felt somewhat awkward on being led across a 
large room to the place where sat Mrs. Madison, Mrs. 
Monroe, Mrs. Decatur and a dozen other ladies in a 
formidable row. There was not a single chair, and had 
not some of the ladies rose to talk with us, we should have 
been somewhat at a loss. 

The President asked Mr. S. who it was led me in, and 
on Mr. F.'s being introduced to him, conversed a good 
deal with him. Mr. Smith introduced him to Mr. Mon- 
roe and several other gentlemen and our good Parson 
went home, to use his own expression, perfectly satisfied 
and gratified. Mary looked uncommonly well. I think 
she is very much improved in her looks since she came 
here, which is to be ascribed to her improved health. 


She had a fine colour, her eyes sparkled and she was per- 
fectly at her ease and conversed with great vivacity with 
the gentlemen. Mrs. Madison expressed a wish that she 
would play and sing, as she had heard that she played 
most elegantly. But Mary declined. Had it been a 
squeeze, I should have urged her playing, but in so thin 
a room, I knew she would be too conspicuous. I will 
not deprive Mary of an opportunity of displaying her 
descriptive powers and therefore will say nothing of the 
appearance of the French Legation, which was superb, 
but not so genteel as the plain clothes of the English. 
The circle, last evening, was not so imposing, as the first 
drawing room the girls went to last winter and even if 
it had been I do not think Mary would have been in such 
ecstatics. Mary is much more quiet in the expression 
of her feelings and on that account a much greater favo- 
rite with my good husband. I never knew Mr. Smith to 
be so much pleased with any young person, he frequently 
when alone commends her in the highest terms. I could 
spend my whole life happily with Mary, I never before 
have met with a disposition which so perfectly accords 
with mine. 

I now begin to feel settled. My domestic arrange- 
ments are all made and my servants so good that I have 
nothing to do. I scarcely realize I am keeping house. 
The change from our country establishment is very 
agreeable. There I had such a variety of things and per- 
sons to attend to without, as well as within doors, and a 
kitchen so crowded with farm servants and children, that 
I had little pleasure in performing my household duties. 
But here I have a most excellent woman in the kitchen, 
who keeps the key of the store room and goes thro' her 
work without requiring any direction from me. A very 
good girl does the chamber work and washing, an un- 


commonly good boy waits in the house and Mr. Tracy 
who drives the carriage, supplies all the deficiencies in the 
others. He markets, and shops, and goes of errands, 
puts up curtains, bedsteads &c — in fact is my maitre 
d'hotcl as well as coachman. So that I am a lady at large 
with nothing in the world to do, but sit up for company, 
and make visits. I go in the kitchen for 5 or 6 minutes 
before breakfast, give my orders for dinner, then give 
the girls their breakfast, send them to school. I arrange 
my side-board and closet in the dining-room, which takes 
me until 10 o'clock, then dress, seat myself in my corner 
on the settee, and give my little ones their lessons, a little 
sewing, and a little reading diversify the morning. We 
have not had much company as yet, and as I do not in- 
tend visiting as many strangers as I did last winter, we 
shall not have so much. I do not think Mary could 
stand such late hours and constant company as the girls 
did, and Ann I am sure can not — indeed we had too much 
for pleasure. I expect to pass many of our evenings in 
a calm domestic manner — sewing and reading. Mr. S. 
is reading the Odyssey. . » . I never wrote more 
like a task, and no school girl ever found a task more dif- 
ficult. You will easily perceive my stupidity. I had best 
waste no more paper. Come Mary and fill it — you can 
give more pleasure. You may as well write as sit look- 
ing out of the window — come along Dear sister, 

write me soon, a sweet, kind letter and that as I said will 
break the spell. 1 

Aunt has left me a little space, dear Mother, to give 
you an account of our appearance at the drawing room, 
for as I wrote you yesterday little else is left me to say. 
I went without the least feeling of trepidation. Mrs. C.'s 
party broke the ice and I felt quite at my ease. But I 
1 The rest of the letter is by Miss Mary Kirkpatrick, Mrs. Smith's niece. 


felt very much disappointed — the ideas I had formed of 
the pleasure of the drawing room were not realized. I 
do not however despair of being pleased at some future 
time for it was the thinnest drawing room that has been 
seen. To see the great and celebrated people of our 
country is a very great gratification to me. I was in- 
troduced to Mr. Madison as soon as I entered the room, 
but had only the honor of exchanging two or three sen- 
tences with him. Mrs. Madison was extremely polite and 
attentive, but looked very ill. She had on a blue velvet, 
blue head dress and feathers with some old finery and 
her face look'd like a flame. 1 With Mrs. Munroe 2 I am 
really in love. If I was a Washingtonian you might say 
I worshipped the rising sun — but as I am not, you will 
believe my adoration sincere. She is charming and very 
beautiful. She did me the honor of asking to be intro- 
duced to me and saying "she regret'd very much she was 
out when I called" &c and, tho' we do not believe all these 
kind of things it is gratifying to the vanity to hear them. 
It would not however have flatter'd me half so much from 
Mrs. Madison as from her. Mr. Neuville 3 and suite were 
there in most splendid costume — not their court dresses 
however. Blue coats cover'd with gold embroidery. 
The collar and back literally cover'd with wreaths of fleurs 
de lys with white underclothes and large chapeaux with 
feathers. The minister's feather was white, the secre- 
taries black, and their dress tho' on the same style not so 
superb as his. Madam and Mademoiselle were very hand- 
somely dress'd in white sattin. Mr. and Mrs. Bagot 4 

1 Truth compels the statement — Mrs. Madison painted. 

2 She was Elizabeth Kortright, of New York, daughter of Lawrence 
Kortright, a captain in the British army. Her stately manners were in 
marked contrast with Mrs. Madison's genial warmth. During her hus- 
band's term as President she secluded herself from general society to a 
considerable extent because of her ill health. 

3 Hyde de Neuville, French Minister from 18 1 6 to 1822. 

4 Sir Charles Bagot, British Minister from 181 6 to 1819. 

Mrs. James Madison. 

From the steel engraving by J. F. E. Prudhomme, after the portrait by 
J. Wood. 


were both in complete black. The Abbe Corier 1 the Por- 
tugese minister is a venerable old gentleman and a man of 
great learning ; he speaks five languages perfectly. Com- 
modore and Mrs. Decatur were very brilliant. The Sec- 
retaries (except Mr. Munroe) were not there. Mr. Neu- 
vill enquired after you and says he regrets his jo lie 
bcrgere, that a shepherd's life is much happier than that 
of a public man. Mr. Bourquinay and Mr. Thierrie (my 
favourite) called to see us yesterday morning, the former 
improves on acquaintance and look'd quite handsome in 
his full dress. I met at Miss Duval's this morning Mr. 
Hughes and Mr. Antrobus, the secretaries of the British 
Legation. They are sprightly, intelligent young men, 
but not to compare with Mr. Bagot. We paid some 
visits this morning to Mrs. Seaton and Miss Gales sisters 
of Joscy Gales as we say, Mr. Blake, Mrs. Van Ness and 
Mrs. Clay, whose youngest child is very ill with the 
whooping cough. Tomorrow evening we are to take 
tea sociably with Mrs. Meigs. I feel very anxious to 
hear of Elizabeth. I hope by this time she is enjoying 
her usual health. Tell me particularly how she is and 
how your uncle and general health is. My kindest love 
to my dear father and the girls and to all my friends 
individually. How do you like the new divinities, Mr. 
Kissgin and does Mr. Vanzant visit you as often as he 
did last summer ? My next letter will be to Elizabeth if 
I can find enough to amuse her. Farewell beloved 
Mother — may Heaven bless and preserve you. Mr. 
Kent hasent yet arrived. 

1 Jose* Correa da Serra, Minister from Portugal, the most famous wit and 
epigram-maker of his day. He it was who called Washington the "city of 
magnificent distances." 



January 19, 181 7. 

This is winter, cold, piercing, winter! I am half 
frozen, with my back close to the fire and a foot stove 
beneath my feet. It was so extremely cold that we all 
agreed not to go to church, for altho' we might have 
escaped much suffering, our poor coachman would have 
almost perished. The same consideration kept us at 
home last night, otherwise we would have enjoy'd our- 
selves exceedingly at M. de Neuville's, where we were 
invited to pass the evening. 

You were afraid Mary's health would not stand much 
dissipation. She laid up such a stock at Sidney, that it 
enables her without the slightest inconvenience to partici- 
pate in all the gaiety of our gay city. She says she could 
enjoy being in company every evening. We have seldom 
exceeded three evenings in the week, altho' we have 
often had invitations for four or five. This, however, 
is no great self denial, as we are seldom or ever close 
at home. Mary has given you I suppose some account 
of our large party at home. I invited 170, and then 
offended several families I was obliged to omit; about 
120 came. I had 4 musicians from the Marine Band, 
and the goodness of the musick greatly increased the 
pleasures of the evening. Mrs. Barlowe seem'd about 
as anxious as if it had been her own party, and wished 
me to make use of her servants and everything in her 
house, which could add to the elegance of the party. I 
accepted but a small portion of what she offer'd ; the kind 
Mrs. Bomford, 1 came early in the morning and assisted 

1 A sister of Joel Barlow who was married to Lieutenant Colonel George 
Bomford, a distinguished officer of the army. Their daughter married 
Benjamin Lincoln Lear, son by his first marriage of Tobias Lear, Washing- 
ton's secretary. 

i8i 7 ] MRS. SMITH'S PARTY 137 

in all the arrangements. We had four rooms open, two 
down-stairs for dancing, one parlour and one supper 
room up stairs, the table was so arranged that 25 or 30 
could sit down at a time and a side board of dishes sup- 
plied those that were consumed at table. Such a party 
could give me no pleasure, but I hope it did others. We 
were so constantly in company the whole week before, 
that I was completely tired and half resolved to stay at 
home the rest of the winter, — but four or five days rest 
restored me my good health and spirits. I did not go 
on Monday with the girls to the concert, but on Wed- 
nesday accompanied Mary to the drawing-room. I went 
purely from the desire of pleasing her, but was rewarded 
for my complaisance, not only by the sight of her plea- 
sure, but by my own enjoyment. Independent of the 
affections, I know of no pleasure equal to that derived 
from the conversation of men of genius. And this I 
enjoy'd in an unusual degree. Governor Barbour 1 (of 
Virginia) now in the Senate, is a man of fashion, a man 
of the world, and to all the graces joins the most charm- 
ing manners and high talents. He has so much ardour 
and enthusiasm, that one might almost call him romantic; 
he has a beautiful daughter to whom that epithet justly 
applies, and who is a girl of Genius, with all the faults 
generally attached to that character, but with all its 
charms. The father and daughter join'd our party for 
the evening; Gen'l Harrison, (our Western Hero) Col. 
Taylor, a most agreeable man from S. Carolina and sev- 
eral others, enlarged the little circle, we formed on one 
side the fire place. But the one who most interested me, 
was Mr. Gillrnore, a young Virginian, introduced to me 
by Miss Barbour. He is called the future hope of Vir- 

1 James Barbour, afterwards Secretary of War under John Quincy 
Adams, and Minister to England 1828-29. 


ginia — its ornament !— its bright star ! I had a long, ani- 
mated, and interesting conversation with him, really the 
greatest intellectual feast I have long had. He is the 
enthusiastic admirer of my dear and revered Mr. Jeffer- 
son, and a familiar inmate of his family. During the 
last year he has been the traveling friend and pupil of 
Abbe Correa, with him he has explored the mountains, 
the valleys and rivers of Virginia, and describes its sub- 
lime and its beautiful scenery, with all the rapture and 
enthusiasm of genius and youth. While I was thus en- 
gaged, Mary and Ann were surrounded with their beaux 
and lost the pleasure of making the acquaintance of this 
interesting young man. I asked him and Govr. and Miss 
Barbour to pass the next evening, together with Genl. 
Harrison and Col. Taylor, — the two last were engaged. 
This evening Mary Ann look'd better than I have ever 
seen her. When we first went in, the chairs round Mrs. 
Madison were occupied and we seated ourselves on the 
opposite side of the fire and were the only party on that 
side of the room ; few persons had yet arrived, the room 
was empty. We had not been long seated when Mrs. 
Madison cross'd the room and going up to Mary, took 
her hand and after the usual compliments, told her she 
had a great secret to communicate, but should not do it, 
until the end of the evening. A great deal of rallying on 
both sides took place, — when Mrs. M. told her that a 
gentleman who had fallen in love with her, who was a 
friend of hers, had made her his confidant, that he was 
to be there, and she would not tell Mary his name until 
she saw how Mary treated him. All this time she held 
Mary's hand. The conversation was carried on with so 
much animation, that it drew the attention of those 
around. Mary's eyes sparkled, she had a brilliant colour, 
(which however she always has) she spoke with great 

i8i 7 ] A "SQUEEZE" AT MRS. MEIGS' 139 

vivacity and look'd really very handsome, and more per- 
sons than I thought so. Mary's beauty depends almost 
entirely on expression, manner and colour. Her black 
eyes and hair, her white teeth and vivid bloom, when 
heightened by fine spirits, really makes her beautiful and 
you would scarcely know her to be the same, when silent, 
quiet, and uninterested. She has always a fine colour 
and says she never in her life enjoy'd such high health. 
I asked a friend who was in the way of hearing such 
things, in what manner Mary was spoken of. She said 
many called her handsome, but she was most generally 
admired for her intelligence, her expression and anima- 
tion — that every one thought her an uncommonly sensi- 
ble girl and all liked her for the way in which she used 
her sense, no pedantry, no kind of superiority, but so 
much good humour and sprightliness ! Ann hangs on her 
arm and smiles, but seldom speaks. She is more inani- 
mate than ever, and alas; not so pretty. On Thursday 
evening we had a charming little party at home, whom 
I ask'd in the morning, in a social way. Mrs. Barlowe 
and Mr. and Mrs. Bomford, Mr. and Mrs. Clay, Mr. 
and Mrs. Brown 1 (of the Senate) Govr. and Miss Bar- 
bour, Mr. Gillmore Abbe Correa, Dr. Tucker and 3 or 4 
other gentlemen. I had a long tete-a-tete with the old 
Abbe, but could not discover any of those charms of con- 
versation for which he is celebrated. We pass'd two 
mornings this week at the House and could I reconcile 
it to my domestic duties, I should love dearly to go very 
often. On Friday evening we went to an intollerable 
squeeze, at Mrs. Meigs every body I had ever seen in 
W. was there, foreigners, strangers and citizens. The 
girls had not been long seated, before I was separated 

1 James Brown, of Louisiana, a man of great wealth, with a handsome, 
fashionable wife. He was Minister to France, 1823-29. 


from them by the pressure of the crowd, but from time 
to time I saw them, always surrounded with beaux and 
to their old acquaintance I saw added Col. Taylor, who 
did not leave them the whole evening. I have not yet 
found out whether he is married or single, — he is young 
and very agreeable, and seems desirous of becoming an 
acquaintance of the whole family. For my part, I talk'd 
a little to a hundred people, but had conversation only 
with Genl. Harrison and Abbe Correa. The former to my 
taste is the most agreeable, altho' the other is extoll'd to 
the skies, both here and in Philadelphia. Miss Rush has 
been at all the places we have been but seems to produce 
no effect and to be little known or noticed. Next to the 
Miss de Kantzows 1 and the other diplomatiques, Mary, 
I think has most attention. I include in the above term 
the Miss de K.'s, the Miss de Onis' 2 and Miss Louise. 
They always sit together, stand together and talk to- 
gether and never join any of the other young ladies. 
At home Mary's good humour and good spirits are in- 
variable. We shall be very dull when she leaves us. 
Last evening Col. Johnson 3 and Col Fletcher 4 were here 
(cold as it was). Mr. Smith and I play'd chess, Jona- 
than, mused in one corner, Mary Ann and Col. J. and 
Ann and Col. F. amused themselves, very merrily at 
least. I do not see as many love symtoms as I did. 
Mary puts no fuel to the flame and you know it cannot 
long burn without. I have seen no stranger this winter 
for whom I feel so much interest as Madm. Neuville. I 

1 Daughters of Baron Johan Albert de Kantzow, Minister Resident of 
Sweden and Norway. 

2 Daughter of Luis de Onis, Spanish Minister. 

3 Richard Malcolm Johnson, then a Representative from Kentucky. At 
the Battle of the Thames, Canada, October 5, 181 3, he killed a powerful 
Indian chief in a hand-to-hand fight. Tecumseh fell in this battle and it 
was claimed, although never clearly established, that he was the chief 
whom Johnson slew. 

4 Thomas Fletcher, Representative from Kentucky. 


could love her, if our intercourse could be social enough 
to allow it. They have company I believe almost every 
day to dinner, or of an evening. Always on Saturday, — 
we have had a general invitation for that evening. I 
believe she is completely weary of this eternal dissipation. 
I love her for her kindness to Mrs. Stone, 1 she takes every 
occasion of showing her kindness and of giving her con- 


23, Novr. 181 7, Sidney. 
► . . ♦ People seem to think we shall have great 
changes in social intercourse and customs. Mr. and Mrs. 
Monroe's manners 2 will give a tone to all the rest. Few 
persons are admitted to the great house and not a single 
lady has as yet seen Mrs. Monroe, Mrs. Cutts excepted, 
and a committee from the Orphan Asylum, on which 
occasion Mrs. Van Ness first called to know when Mrs. 
M. would receive the committee. Mrs. M. said she 
would let them know in the course of a few days, — this 
she did, appointing the succeeding week for the inter- 
view. She is always at home to Mrs. Cutts, and Mr. 
Monroe has given orders to his Porter to admit Mr. Clay, 
at all times, even when the cabinet council is sitting, and 
the other day when he call'd and declined the servant's 
invitation into the Cabinet, Mr. M. came out and took him 
into the council. Altho' they have lived 7 years in W. 
both Mr. and Mrs. Monroe are perfect strangers not only 
to me but all the citizens. Every one is highly pleased 

1 A lady whom Mrs. Smith had assisted in starting a girls' school in Wash- 

' Monroe endeavored to restore to the President's house the stately for- 
mality which had prevailed when Washington was President. Mrs. Monroe 
paid no visits. Her daughters also paid no visits, and there was a feud 
between them and the diplomatic corps in consequence. 


with the appointment of Mr. Wirt 1 and Mr. Calhoun, 2 
they will be most agreeable additions to our society. Tell 
Mary Ann that the house of Mr. Brent, opposite to us is 
occupied by Mr. Walsh and Mr. Corea; I promise my- 
self some pleasure from these new neighbors. . . . 


Sunday, between churches, 12 Novr. [18 18] 
. . . . Yesterday for instance, before I had com- 
pleted my house hold arrangements, I was called to Dr. 
Smith, the herb doctor, or as he calls himself, "The 
Professor in the University of Nature." He brought 
his Mariner's needle, in which he believes he has made 
an improvement, founded on a discovery of his own, that 
will establish his fame and his fortune. He had just 
come from the President's who had received him most 
graciously and promised to mention him in his report to 
Congress. His improvement has been already adopted 
in our Navy and is highly approved of. The design is, 
to counteract the variations of the needle, a thing that has 
puzzled Philosophers and Mariners, ever since the first 
discovery of the magnet. He does not pretend to have 
discovered the cause of this variation, that mystery is 
still unsolved, but to control or to counteract its effects. 
To have heard him talking to me, you would have sup- 
posed I was a mathemetician. I repeatedly assured him 
of my ignorance, of my utter deficiency in scientific 
knowledge, and he as repeatedly argued that I was a lady 
of most philosophical mind and he felt certain, that I 
could explain his views to others (and he wished them 
made known) much better than he could. (Poor man 
he is certainly deficient in language, for although nature 
1 As Attorney General. 2 As Secretary of War. 


has given him a most powerful, original and inquisitive 
mind, she could not give him scientific principles or lan- 
guage.) He remained at least two hours, — so happy! in 
having some one to listen to and sympathize with him, 
that I had not the heart, tired as I was, to send him away, 
by coldness and inattention, for of course you know I 
would not do it by words. Then Mr. Cutts 1 came in, 
and made a very reasonable visit, and then, after he made 
his bow, I with great avidity seized my pen and it moved 
as if it was clothed not only with its own share of 
feathers, but with the whole of a gooses wing, — it abso- 
lutely flew as it transcribed the ideas that oppressed my 
brain. But ere one sheet was filled, the door-bell rung 
and scared my goose away. . . . 

Wednesday, almost dinner time. Really dear Anna I 
did expect a letter ere this. In your last you said I might 
look for one on Monday. Till I get it I will proceed 
with my journal. Mr. Wood concluded my last page. 
I arose on Monday morning with more elastic spirits than 
I have felt since I came into the city. After breakfast I 
went forth on a shopping expedition and procured most 
of the winter clothing for the family, self included. One 
article I could not get, — curls, french curls, parted on the 
forehead, you know how. You must get them for me 
either in New York or Phila. Now remember CURLS ! 
I came home excessively wearied, but unwilling to break 
in upon another day. I carried my dress to the mantua 
makers. When I came home at dark, found Miss Gal- 
laudet 2 here. She entertained us with a very minute 
and well told account of the Hartford Institution, for the 
Deaf and Dumb. She is an elderly single lady, very pre- 
cise in her appearance and plain. But her language 

1 Hon. Richard Cutts, Mrs. Madison's brother-in-law. 

2 Sister of the father of education of the deaf in America, Thomas Hopkins 


classically correct and elegant. She is fine, intelligent, 
though neither a very pleasing or interesting woman, is 
animated and engaged while talking herself, but listless 
and inattentive to what others say. How very reverse 
of our friend Lydia. Her object in coming was to con- 
sult me about establishing a school here on some im- 
proved system, — full of her own views and ideas, she is 
indifferent to those of others, perhaps this is the char- 
acteristic of enthusiasm and that I am as obnoxious to 
this observation as she is. After tea Mr. Larned and Mr. 
Bailey came in. Chess, of course,, engaged them. Your 
father and Mr. Bailey, Aunt Ann and Mr. Larned. I was 
so engrossed by Miss Gallaudet, as not to be able to look 
over Mr. Bailey's game. It lasted three or more hours. 
Almost ii o'clock when it was terminated. Mr. B. as 
you may suppose, victor. Mr. Gallaudet came in and he 
and I calculated the expense of a soup-house, we want to 
establish, in connection with the Howard Institution. 
The evening if not very amusingly passed rationally with 
me. When Ann and Mr. L. gave up the chess, Julia 
arranged a partie for Bayard and Miss Gallaudet (a 
wretched play, so slow, so precise). Oh how mad he 
was! — he wanted to have studied Mr. B.'s game and is 
not very fond of old, young ladies, you know. He 
begged Julia not to dispose of him again. Julia asked 
Mr. Gallaudet to bring Mr. Noble here this evening 
(Wednesday) and invited Miss G. to come again. . . . 

Sunday morning, Jany. Sidney 1819. 
. . . . The next day we went to the city and were 
received by Mrs. Calhoun 1 with the affection and kind- 

1 Mrs. Calhoun was Floride Calhoun, a cousin of her husband. Her 
mother, Floride Bonneau Calhoun, was of a Huguenot family, and John C. 
Calhoun acquired wealth and social prestige in South Carolina by his 

i8i 9 ] CLAY'S SPEECH 145 

ness of the nearest relative or friend. As I had all with 
me, she said she would take no denial to our staying with 
her until the next day, — this we had to decline. On 
hearing that Mr. Clay was to speak, I could not resist 
the temptation and told Susan if she would go home with 
her father and if he would consent, I would stay. 1 I 
accordingly went to the Treasury to ask leave and hav- 
ing obtained it, took Susan to Mrs. Bomford's to pass 
the morning and according to agreement followed Mrs. 
C. to the capitol-hill, who had gone on before with Julia 
and Mrs. Lowndes, in order to secure seats. Our little 
Anna was left in charge with Miss Eliza, who was very 
kind to her. When I reached the Hall, it was so 
crowded that it was impossible to join my party, and 
after much hesitation I consented to allow Mr. Taylor 
to take me on the floor of the House, where he told me 
some ladies already were. In the House, or rather, 
lobby of the House, I found four ladies whom I had never 
before seen — all genteel and fashionable and under the 
protection of Mr. Mercer, 2 who shook hands with me. 
The Senate had adjourned in order to hear Mr. Clay, all 
the foreign ministers and suites, many strangers were 
admitted on the floor, in addition to the members ren- 
der'd the house crowded. The gallery was full of ladies, 
gentlemen and men, to a degree that endanger'd it, — 
even the outer entries were thronged and yet such silence 
prevailed that tho' at a considerable distance I did not 
lose a word. Mr. Clay was not only eloquent but amusing 
and more than once made the whole house laugh. Poor 
Mr. Holmes 3 and Genl. Smythe 4 could not have enjoy'd 
this merriment as it was at their expense. As you will 

1 Clay's elaborate speech on the Seminole War was made January 20. 

2 John Fenton Mercer, Representative from Virginia. 

3 John Holmes, of Massachusetts. 

4 Alexander Smyth, of Virginia. 


read the speech in the paper, I will not detail it, although 
I could repeat almost the whole of it. But in losing the 
voice and manner of Mr. Clay, much of the effect will be 
lost. Every person had expected him to be very severe 
on the President and seemed rather disappointed by his 
moderation. To hear the better, I had seated myself on 
some steps, quite out of sight of the house; when Mr. 
Clay had finished he came into the lobby for air and re- 
freshment. The members crowded round him, and I 
imagine by his countenance, what they whispered must 
have been very agreeable. When he saw me, he came 
and sat a few minutes on the steps by me, throwing him- 
self most gracefully into a recumbent posture. I told 
him I had come prepared to sit till evening and was dis- 
appointed at his speech being so short; he said he had 
intended to have spoken longer, but his voice had given 
out ; he had begun too loud and soon exhausted himself. 
Meanwhile Col. Johnson had risen and was speaking, but 
the noise of walking and talking and coughing was so 
loud, it was impossible to hear him. He several times 
earnestly begged that the little he had to say might be 
attended to, but in vain. Every one was glad of a little 
relief after 3 hours, and after speaking without being 
listen'd to the Coin, begged leave to defer what he had 
to say to the next day. This was readily granted him. 
The gentlemen are grown very gallant and attentive and 
as it was impossible to reach the ladies through the gal- 
lery, a new mode was invented of supplying them with 
oranges etc. They tied them up in handkerchiefs, to 
which was fixed a note indicating for whom it was de- 
sign'd and then fastened to a long pole. This was taken 
on the floor of the house and handed up to the ladies who 
sat in front of the gallery. I imagine there were near a 
100 ladies there, so that these presentations were frequent 


and quite amusing, even in the midst of Mr. C.'s speech. 
I, and the ladies near me, were more accessible and were 
more than supplied with oranges, cakes &c. We divided 
what was brought us with each other and were as social 
as if acquainted. A great many members came success- 
ively to speak to me and Mr. Baldwin 1 and Mr. Taylor 
were kindly attentive and staid much of the time near 
me, — otherwise I should have felt disagreeable. At din- 
ner, I gave Mr. Calhoun an ample detail of the speech, 
which led to a great deal of conversation of men, meas- 
ures and facts. You know how frank and communica- 
tive he is, and considering I was very much animated by 
the scene of the morning, perhaps you will not be sur- 
prised at our conversing without any interruption until 
9 o'clock. I several times after tea begged him to read 
or write and make no stranger of me, but this his polite- 
ness would not permit him to do. While we conversed, 
Mrs. C. and Julia play'd on the Pianno and at chess. At 
last I jumped up declaring I would keep him no longer 
from business, and proposed to Mrs. C. to adjourn to 
our chamber. 


[Sidney,] Sunday, 14 Febr. 18 19. 
. . . . As for us ; we are thank a kind providence 
all well. Dear little Anna is I think better than she was 
before her illness. We have again resumed our regular 
occupations and time passes cheerfully and I hope not 
uselessly by. We have until the last 3 days had most 
delightful weather ; so warm that we could often sit with 
the windows open. We improved this charming season 
by walking or riding every day, thinking there would yet 

1 Henry Baldwin, Representative from Pennsylvania. 


be bad weather enough to keep us within doors at work. 
I have with the girls passed many pleasant mornings with 
our friends in the city, have had more company than 
usual in the country. Mr. Astley, Mr. Buck, Mr. Wall, 
Mr. Orplander ( ?) have at different times dined with us 
and our good Capt. Riley 1 has been always once and 
some times twice a week to see us. When he comes he 
stays all night and is quite domesticated with us. Bay- 
ard and Anna are reading his narrative, which I read to 
them two years ago. It is seldom they do not pay the 
tribute of their tears to his sad story, at least Bayard, who 
is a tender hearted little creature. Since I last wrote I 
have often seen Mrs. Calhoun and could not resist at- 
tending a very large ball she had. Five rooms crowded. 
I have seen every one I know for the first and last time 
this winter. I was completely weary before the evening 
was over, so much for habit. Mrs. C. always enquires 
very particularly after you, and bade me remember her 
kindly to you and the girls and to tell Ann to make 
haste home, or she should not see her for a great while, 
as she and all her family were going to S. Carolina. 


Sidney, January 30th 1820 Sunday. 

. . . . We- have seen but little of Caroline B. 
She was to have pass'd a week with us, but the Missouri 
question coming on, she could not absent herself. She 
is quite enchanted with the debates and spends all her 

1 James Riley, an adventurous mariner, was shipwrecked on the coast of 
Africa August 15, 181 5, and kept as a slave by the Arabs for fifteen months, 
when he was ransomed by the British Consul at Magadore. Mrs. Smith's 
friend, Anthony Bleecker, prepared from Riley's papers an "Authentic 
Narrative of the Loss of the American Brig Commerce on the Western 
Coast of Africa" (New York, 181 6). 


mornings at the Capitol. Our Vice-President 1 was so 
gallant, that he admitted ladies in the senate chamber and 
appropriated to them those charming and commodious 
seats which belonged to foreign ministers and strangers 
of distinction, but their numbers were so great for some 
days, that they not only filled these and all other seats, 
that at last they got literally on the floor, to the no small 
inconvenience and displeasure of many gentlemen. 
Nothing could be more brilliant than the audience Mr. 
Pinckney's eloquence attracted. Every one was in rap- 
tures. We intended to have been one of the intruders 
on that day, but was disappointed by our carriage being 
broken. Ann and I went one day with Caroline and 
Mrs. McClean, but were not much amused. Caroline is 
very affectionate and says nothing but the Missouri ques- 
tion shall keep her from us, — the moment that debate is 
over, she will come and make a long visit. 


Sidney, April 23, 1820. 
. . . . A few weeks ago Mrs. Calhoun 2 lost her 
infant daughter, about five months old. The moment I 
heard of its illness I went into the city and offered my 
services, and staid 2 days and sat up one night. But 
finding the crowd of visitors so great and the offers of 
service so numerous and pressing that tho' highly grat- 
ifying to the feelings of the parents, they were injurious 
to the infant. I never in my life witnessed such atten- 
tions. Ladies of the first and gayest fashion, as well 

1 Daniel D. Tompkins, of New York. 

2 Calhoun's residence in Washington began when he became Secretary 
of War in 18 17, when his wife and mother-in-law joined him. This child 
who died March 22 was the second he had lost, the first having died while 
he was a member of Congress. 


as particular friends, pressed their attendance, in a way 
not to be denied. The President called every day, and 
his daughter Mrs. Hay, altho' in the midst of bridal- 
festivities came three evenings successively to beg to sit 
up and was denied as other ladies were already engaged. I 
was one night and she came and sat all the evening by the 
child and reluctantly left it, but told Mrs. C. she should 
come the next evening, and would take no denial. The 
next morning Mrs. C. recollecting Mrs. Decatur gave a 
large party to the bride and thinking Mrs. H. could not 
with propriety be absent, she sent to beg her not to come, 
but the President said it was his particular desire that she 
should, as she was the best nurse in the world and so 
she proved to be. Mrs. Adams in the like manner and 20 
others would attend. This being the case I did not re- 
main, as I found myself none the better for the duties 
of a sick-room. All this was not a mere tribute to rank, 
no, — I am persuaded much of it was from that good will 
which both Mr. and Mrs. C. have universally excited, 
they are really beloved. Commodore Decatur's death, 1 
was a striking and melancholy event. The same day, on 
which thousands of his fellow citizens attended him to 
his grave, High Mass for the Duke of Berry 2 was per- 
formed in a splendid and solemn manner, in the morning, 
at which an immense crowd attended, so that the whole 
day, the whole city, Georgetown and Alexandria were 
in a commotion, for citizens from both these towns, 
crowded to the city. The afternoon before, Mrs. Cal- 
houn's infant had been buried, attended by an unusually 
long train of carriages. This week had been destined to 
be the gayest of the season, and parties for every night 
in the week were fixed for the bride, not one of which 

1 He was killed in a duel with Commodore Barron, March 22. 

2 The Duke of Berry was assassinated February 13. 


took place, for from the moment Decatur fell, nothing 
else was thought of. Mrs. Decatur has left the city, 
house, carriages, &c &c are to be sold, and from all this 
gaiety and splendor she retires to solitude and melan- 
choly. No one but her friend Mrs. Harper, who was in 
the house, ever saw her, and even to her, she seldom 
spoke a single word. More impressively than any words, 
did these events preach the vanity of honors and pleasures 
of rank and wealth. 


Sidney, Sunday evening. [Sept. 1820.] 
Your idea has not been a moment absent from my 
mind, my dearest child since I bade you farewell, except 
while asleep and even then I dreamt of you. At every 
hour I have said, "She is now at such or such a place. 
She has now reached Phila, now is sitting surrounded by 
such and such friends." Today I have imagined the im- 
pression which would be made on your mind, by the sight 
of so large a congregation, the great concourse of people 
you would meet in the streets, the sound of so many 
bells, &c &c. And while at church my petitions rose to 
the throne of grace with more faith and fervor, from the 
conviction that at the same hour, you too, were offering 
up yours. 

Never did I hear from Mr. Caldwell and seldom from 
any one, a more instructive and animating and consoling 
discourse. It was on the necessity, benefit, and comfort 
of Prayer. Never having been separated before from 
my darling child, I feel more depressed and saddened by 
your absence than I had any idea of. Not an hour passes 
I do not seem to seek for you, to listen for you, and when 


I seek and listen in vain, my heart quite sinks. It is 
with a painful pleasure I come across anything that was 
yours, and it was not without tears I appropriated your 
work-box to myself and fill'd it with my work. These 
lonely and sad feelings I know will not last and even 
were they more painful than they are I would cheer- 
fully bear them, for the sake of the pleasure and advan- 
tage your seperation will procure for you. With a mind 
thus soften'd, I heard with peculiar benefit and pleasure 
Mr. Caldwell's excellent discourse, and I felt that it was 
in prayer we could most tenderly meet, tho' seperated by 
such a distance. 

I was peculiarly affected with one of the hymns sung 
at church this morning, it so truly expressed my visions 
and feelings, read it my dear Susan and think of me, it 
is the 37th hymn beginning 

"Alas what hourly dangers rise." 

When you get to Brunswick, you will join the family 
Sunday evening concert, sometimes ask your aunt to sing 
our favorites, such as "Far from my thoughts etc. . . . 

The morning after you left me, accompanied by both 
the children, I went to the city, and after a visit to Mrs. 
Bradleys, went to Mrs. Calhoun's, intending to stay but 
a little while. She would, however, take no denial, but 
with friendly force obliged us to stay to dinner. She 
gave Bayard calfs' foot jelly, sent for oysters for him, 
and then made him lie down on her bed, where he slept 
for several hours. When we came away, she loaded him 
with jellies and cakes. On Friday I felt so lost, lonely 
and desolate without you, that I did not dare to sit down 
to my work, but busied myself in the kitchen with mak- 
ing pickles and sweet-meats, and in the afternoon sister 
Ann and I walked up to Mrs. Cuttings, who cheer'd us up 


with her cheerful conversation and good coffee. When 
I came home I still missed my Sue but tried to forget 
her in caressing Bayard and Anna. Thursday and Sat- 
urday evenings were cold. We had a blaze kindled on 
our hearth and enjoyed our first autumnal fire. The 
sopha was drawn in its usual place and I took my accus- 
tom'd corner. You know how I love this twilight, or 
rather fire-light hour, which makes winter dear to me. 
The summer then is gone ! How like a dream does the 
interval appear since I last enjoyed this hour. On Sat- 
urday I again accompanied your father to town, Julia 
and the children with me, on purpose to visit my two 
afflicted friends Mrs. Clifton and Mrs. Tasslet. I spent 
some serious hours with them. Poor Mrs. Tasslet is 
the ghost of what she was. I never saw anyone so alter'd 
in so short a space. We thought her sorrow moderate, 
but alas we were deceived by appearances, she took a 
pride in suppressing her tears and emotions, but her 
sorrow has sunk the deeper and I much fear injured not 
only her health but her mind. She says Jane talks con- 
tinually of Godfrey. When she eats she says, "Mama 
give brother some of this, I will save this for brother." 
At night she often cries violently and pushes her mother 
to the door, saying go mama go for my poor Godfrey, 
bring him out of that garden and put him in his cradle. 
Godfrey is cold in that garden, mama, for I hear him 
crying." This she says almost distracts her. She had 
laying by her the last cap he wore, which in his agony 
he pulled off his head. She says it shall never be washed 
and that it is seldom out of her sight. Poor woman, my 
heart bled for her. Old Mrs. Calhoun visits her almost 
daily, as she thinks, she is under a religious concern, to 
use her expression. I much fear in the present distracted 
state of her feelings Mrs. C. is not the most useful friend 


she could have. But stop I must, as I have promised to 
leave room for a little letter of dear Anna. Bayard con- 
tinues to mend rapidly. Farewell my beloved child. 


March 19, 182 1, Sidney. 
. . . . We are social beings, and the strongest 
mind and warmest heart need the stimulus of society — 
but not the society of the gay world. It chills the af- 
fections, checks the aspirations of the soul, and dissipates 
the mind. You will most sensibly feel the loss of the 
social pleasures you have this winter enjoy'd, when you 
return to Sidney. The family you best loved, will have 
left Washington. I mean the Forsythes. They are to 
go to Spain in June, and to New York in the course of 
a week or two. I will ask Julia to try and see you as 
she passes through Brenner to bid you a farewell. Mr. 
and Mrs. Forsythe were here this week. He looks thin 
and pale and far from happy. He has received none of 
that public approbation so supporting and gratifying to 
men in public life, so absolutely necessary to an ambitious 
one. His resignation I suspect would have been ac- 
cepted, had it been offer'd, but having no private fortune, 
and no expectation of other provision at home, he had, 
I suppose, no choice but to return. Mrs. F. says she 
expects they will live in absolute retirement, — this will 
not be very agreeable for the young folks. Indeed none 
of them seem pleased with the idea of going. Thus it is, 
my dear Susan, "our very wishes, give us not our wish." 
With what eagerness is public employment sought and 
yet how few who possess it, are free from the most harass- 
ing cares, and severest mortifications. To fill the vacancy 


made by this family, we shall most probably have that of 
Genl. Brown 1 and of some Commissioners. No one 
seems yet to have the least idea who they are to be. I 
have seldom known such absolute silence observed. Not 
even a conjecture is form'd, altho' it is known from good 
authority that there have been above a hundred applica- 
tions from persons of great respectability. Mrs. Calhoun 
has done her very best to obtain the clerkship of the 
board, for Mr. Tasslet. She went herself to the President 
and others, but I fear there is no chance, for a poor man 
and a foreigner. The son of a Senator is to be the sec- 
retary, a place for which many applications have been 
made, and much interest used even by the person who 
obtained it. This Florida business has rilled our city 
with strangers. I am told above a 1000 persons are here 
seeking for some place in this new acquired Territory. 
The reduction of the army has thrown thousands out of 
employ. . . . 


[Sidney,] August 17, [1822] Friday morning. 
. . . . Our Bayard insists on remaining in the 
city, even should the cholera prevail there. If duty re- 
quired it, I would not say a word to change his resolution. 
I could even encourage him to run any risque, which the 
duties of public station or humanity might require. But 
this is not the case. With Mr. Smith it is. He must be 
at the Bank, — anxious as I shall be. I acquiesce and shall 
only urge him to use every possible precaution. Several 
of our neighbours, Mr. Wood among others, are in the 
same predicament; being in public employ. A consid- 
erable degree of alarm and uneasiness prevail in the city, 

1 Jacob Brown, General-in-Chief of the Army from March 10, 1821, till 
his death, Feb. 24, 1828. 


arising from several sudden deaths, chiefly blacks. Our 
Police is awakening from its lethargy and are making 
preparations. Fruit, especially melons, are prohibited, 
much to the discomfort of the farmers and to ours in 
particular. We never had such an immense crop of 
melons before. The season has been very favorable. 
That portion in the garden, under my direction, I have 
had destroyed, feeding the ripe ones to the cows and 
ploughing up the rest. The girls who stood by to watch 
the avidity with which the cows devoured them, said they 
could scarcely resist sharing in their feast and quite en- 
vied them the fine delicious melons that were thrown to 
them. Our farmer will not follow my example, but by 
hook and by crook, as the saying is, sells a great quantity, 
people come to the field to purchase them. I hope they 
will not have cause to rue their obstinacy. We are all 
very careful in our diet, yet are none of us free from 
occasional disorders of the stomach and bowels. Were 
we to consider these as premonitory symptoms, we might 
be continually dosing ourselves with medicine. But I* 
presume until the disease does get to the city, no danger 
can arise from these slight complaints, always incident 
to the season. With the exception of what you say on 
this point your letter is very encouraging and has inspired 
me with a confidence I did not before feel. Had I re- 
ceived it earlier, I should have engrafted part of it in a 
letter of Maria's, which the persuasions of Mrs. Thorn- 
ton and Mrs. Bomford to whom I read it, induced me to 
publish in the Intelligencer. We always call after church 
to enquire after Mrs. Bordeau. Mrs. Bomford does the 
same, so our three families generally meet for an hour 
or two on Sunday. It was then I read them Maria's 
letter. We endeavor to persue our usual routine and 
only once or twice have felt depressed or alarmed. The 

i8aa] DEATH OF MRS. CUTTS 157 

awful symtoms, described by some of our visitants, pro- 
duced this effect. Poor Mrs. Cutts is no more. She 
has been long extremely ill. Our friend Mrs. Clay, who 
while in the city was her daily visitor, awakened her mind 
to religious considerations and persuaded her and her 
daughters to be baptized. Her whole life has been de- 
voted to the fashionable world. The distinctions it con- 
ferred and the pleasures it afforded, the sole objects of 
her ambition and desire, until a few weeks before her 
death, when her mind was directed to higher objects. 
She has been my fellow traveller in the paths of society, 
our acquaintances and even our friends were the same. 
Mrs. Randolph and Mrs. Clay Mrs. Bomford and Mrs. 
Mason were among her most intimate associates and 
faithfully discharged the last duties to a sick and dying 
friend. Mrs. Van Ness, another contemporary in my 
social life, is now dangerously ill of fever. Many of our 
citizens have already fled from the expected enemy and 
gone to different places in search of safety. . . . 


My dear Madam : 

Dr. Huntt 1 thinks John 2 better this morning; but his 
fever continues, without any alarming symptoms. We 
hope to break it to day, and for the purpose of watching 
him and seeing that his medicine is properly adminis- 
tered, I shall remain with him and not attend the Senate. 

Many thanks for the Jelly &c and especially for your 
friendly offer of service. He rests well at night, and 
Charles and I sleep in the same room with him, without 

1 Henry Huntt, a well-known Washington physician. 

2 Clay's youngest son, born in 1821. 


much disturbance to any party. In the day, he is at- 
tended by a good female nurse. I look moreover to day 
or tomorrow for his brother and his wife, who will be 
with me a week or ten days. So that, whilst I am ex- 
ceedingly grateful for your obliging tender of your per- 
sonal attention, it will be unnecessary at present to tax 
your kindness. Should a different and unfortunate state 
of things arise, I will avail myself of your goodness. 

Faith'y yrs, 

H. Clay. 
Saturday morning, 


[Sidney,] Oct. 12, 1822. Saturday. 
. . . . Disease and death, are making sad havoc 
in many parts of our country, and tho' some are more 
dreadfully affected, few are exempt. Our city is very 
sickly. Billious fevers are universal, tho' .not so fatal as 
they have been in other seasons. Lytleton, I am sure, will 
sympathise in the general regret all the friends and ac- 
quaintances of John Law, felt at his death. The very week 
before I met him, in all the health and enjoyment of youth 
and when he smilingly bow'd to me, I pointed him out 
to Nicholas, as the young gentleman, whom I had every 
day been telling him he resembled, — the next week he 
was in his grave. Poor old Mr. Law, is they say, almost 
distracted. Two months before he lost his darling 
daughter and has every reason to fear for the life of his 
other son, who is at Pensacola. Not a family on Capitol- 
Hill have escaped disease, and Mrs. Hunter, and Mrs. 
Dr. May, are now lying so ill as to afford scarcely a hope 
of recovery. Meanwhile the awaken'd zeal of Mr. Post's 
congregation and the other citizens is increasing; there 


are large assemblies every night, either at the churches 
or private houses. Mr. Caldwell, they say is fast wear- 
ing himself out, but as his health decreases, his zeal and 
labours increase. All day he goes from house to house, 
exhorting and praying, and every night at different meet- 
ings. His little daughter Harriet is one of the new con- 
verts, and with twenty or thirty other young people, made 
a kind of public confession and were prayed over in 
church, as they do in methodist meetings. They are in- 
troducing all the habits and hymns, of the methodists into 
our presbyterian churches, after the regular service is 
closed by the clergyman, the congregation rise, and strike 
up a methodist hymn, sung amidst the groans and sobs of 
the newly converted," or convicted as they call them, then 
Mr. Caldwell calls on the mourners to come forward, and 
he and others pray over them, as they loudly vent their 
sorrows. To aid in this revival, young Mr. Brecken- 
ridge 1 from Princeton, and a Mr. Testen, or Thurston, 
or some such name, another navy young man from Phila- 
del. have come on. Mrs. Calhoun told me yesterday, her 
mother had taken Mr. T. out with her, tho' it was raining 
as hard as it could, "to beat up recruits/' (that was her 
expression) for church that night, and that he never was 
known to exhort, (for he is not yet licensed to preach) 
without making at least half a dozen converts, that it was 
astonishing the number he had converted in the short time 
he had been here. A few evenings before, one of our 
gayest and most fashionable young ladies, (whose name 
I will not now mention) had been converted; that whilst 
he spoke, she had been convicted and was so overcome 
with the violence of her feelings, that she had run for- 
ward and thrown herself on him, and lay sobbing and 

1 Rev. John Breckenridge graduated from Princeton in 1818, and became 
a distinguished Presbyterian divine. 


crying on his shoulder, before all the assembly, while he 
enquired into her feelings and talk'd most powerfully and 
pathetically to her. Mrs. Bradley, told me that Mr. Post 
and Mr. Breckenridge were now labouring in good earn- 
est that they said "they were going through the highways 
and hedges, to invite guests/' viz., that they went into 
every house, exhorting the people, particularly into all 
the taverns, grog-shops, and other resorts of dissipation 
and vice. Whether all these excessive efforts will pro- 
duce a permanent reformation I know not; but there is 
something very repugnant to my feelings in the public 
way in which they discuss the conversions and convictions 
of people and in which young ladies and children, display 
their feelings and talk of their convictions and experi- 
ences. Dr. May calls the peculiar fever, the night fever, 
as he says almost all cases were produced by night meet- 
ings, crowded rooms, excited feelings and exposure to 
night air. Mrs. Calhoun, (the old lady) says she means 
to bring both the young missionaries out to see us. Mr. 
Breckenridge I really wish to see, as I know his sister 
intimately and he knows my friends at Princeton. She 
cannot get her daughter to go to any of these meetings, 
who with many others, disapprove of them, — of this num- 
ber is Dr. Hunter. 1 "Revival! indeed/' said the Doctor, 
"I wonder what you mean by a revival ? I call it a stir up, 
or a fight, rather." This, and the Presidential election, 
are the two animating principles at present in our city 
society. One or the other is the perpetual theme of dis- 
course. Every effort is making by Col. McKenny 2 and 
his employers to get Mr. Crawford out of the Cabinet. 
The discussion is kindling personal feelings, and the 
friends of these gentlemen will I fear be made hostile 

1 Rev. Andrew Hunter. 

2 Editor of The Washington Republican, Calhoun's organ. 


to each other. It was universally believed, that Mr. S. 
would have been appointed in Mr. Meig's place, 1 but he 
found those whose wishes would have placed him there, 
have now no influence. And it was only through him, 
that Mr. S. could have had influence on the subject you 
wrote to me about. You see, therefore, however kind 
and earnest his wishes for our friend in Phila., he can do 
nothing. The appointment you wrote about, is deem'd 
one of high political importance, and a high political char- 
acter is talk'd of. And it will I believe depend on the 
President. I wish it were prudent to write more openly ; 
as there are at present several points, on which I would 
wish to write to you. But I have so often experienced 
that our very "wishes, give us not our wish," that I now 
endeavour to suppress every desire and every anxiety 
about the future. We know not what is good for us; 
therefore I cheerfully resign the destiny of those I love, 
to an all wise and all good Providence. Anxious ! Oh 
why should we ever be anxious, about a life, whose tenure 
is so frail and so uncertain! Every day, do we hear of 
the young, the healthy, the gay and the prosperous, being 
suddenly snatched from life. Lytleton, I believe knew 
Dr. Clark, of George Town, — he is dead, and the two 
young and lovely Miss Beverly's, the sisters of his wife. 
In the course of ten days, all three, from youth and health 
and happiness, were torn. And perhaps before another 
week, his wife, his father-in-law and the young gentleman 
to whom one of the Miss B's was in a week or two to have 
been married, may follow them to the grave, for they are 
all ill of the same disease. Ann Eliza Gales, too, who 
was likewise to have been soon married, died after a few 
days illness. Lytleton knew her. Our own family, have 

1 There was an effort made at this time to have Mr. Smith made Post- 
master General. 


as yet been exempt from sickness, except one of our ser- 
vant women who is now ill of the prevailing fever. Our 
neighbour Mrs. White died, whilst Nicholas was here. I 
have thus far struggled through the season, not without 
many threatenings of disease however, and a degree of 
langour, which incapacited me for the least exertion, even 
that of writing to you. Ann's health is much improved 
by her morning rides, for she always accompanies the 
children to school. She is in better health and spirits 
than I have long known her, which makes me much 


Sidney 19, Dec. [1823] 
. . . . When shall we see Mr. Boyd? I hope 
he will be here when his friend Webster makes his Greek 
speech. 1 I shall certainly try to hear it. And I hope 
too when he does come that our friend Crawford, will be 
able to see his friends. He is now shut up in a dark 
room and sees very few persons. That horrible calomel, 
with which his whole system is surcharged, is I do be- 
lieve the cause of all he now suffers. The inflamation 
in his eyes continues, so as to make him almost blind, and 
pains, rheumatic pains they call them, have seized on all 
his joints. His head clerk, attends him every morning 
and he transacts the necessary business of his office in 
his chamber. His spirits seem unimpaired and warm 
weather it is thought will restore him to his usual robust 
health. His prospects are brightening in Pennsylvania. 
The old Republicans, radicals if you please, disciples of 
the Jeffersonian school, are roused from their inactivity 
if Pensy goes with Virginia, there can be little doubt 

^he speech, one of Webster's most elaborate, was delivered January 
19, 1824. 


of success. Mr. Cain. [Calhoun] and A [dams] seem 
not such good friends as they were. I can not tell what 
is the matter, but our politicians think, they will no longer 
lend each other a helping hand. 1 Whether they must fall 
without mutual aid, or whether they will get on better, 
separately, remains to be seen. There is no doubt of 
Mr. Jefferson's being decidedly for Mr. Crawford, 2 and 
he is a host in himself. If he were but well! But he 
has warmly attached friends, not merely political, who 
seek their own advancement, by favouring his, but per- 
sonal friends, who love him for his virtues and respect 
him for his integrity and talents, and he deserves them, 
for he is a warm and zealous friend, where he possesses 
friendship. It would grieve me, if when Mr. Boyd came, 
he did not form an acquaintance with him, which should 
verify all I say. 

Your dispatches will not go to Edward as soon as you 
hoped. Judge Southard who was here last week, says 
he has detained the Cyene for Mr. Brown. Mrs. Brown 
is very averse to a winter passage and good naturedly 
begged him to have a hole bored in the Cyene, or some 
other injury inflicted, so that it could not leave port until 
better season. The Judge told her, that on the contrary, 
he should hasten matters and begged her to be in readi- 
ness. She gave up her house last week and in a few 
days Mr. Brown departs. I have not called to bid her 
my adieus. I have given up formalities. Indeed I sel- 
dom go to the city and then only to the house of two or 
three friends. The summer is our gay season. The 
winter our working time. Your two last letters so in- 
spired me that I have resumed Lucy and write a sheet or 
two every morning, when not interrupted. . . . 

1 They never did. They were united only in their contempt for Crawford. 
' Probably a mistake. Jefferson made no intimations to this effect. 



[Sidney,] Sunday, nth 1824, April. 
. . . . Mr. Crawford 1 has taken Capt. Doughty's 
farm, which is separated from ours only by the road ; he 
would remove immediately if it were not for business 
with Congress, but he will come immediately after it 
adjourns. He was here last week and seems to be re- 
covering his strength. He walked over the grounds and 
was in fine spirits, and I trust leisure and change of air 
will soon restore him to perfect health. He talks of 
travelling north, but is not decided on it and if he finds 
the air of our hills beneficial, I suspect he will not leave 
home. Mr. Calhoun has removed to his house on the 
hills behind George Town and will live I suspect quite 
retired the rest of the session. He does not look well 
and feels very deeply the disappointment of his ambition. 
Mr. Macon and Col. Barton are here and I must close 
this long letter before Mrs. McClane comes. The gen- 
tlemen and Mr. Smith have gone out to walk. The day 
has cleared and is warm as summer. The peach trees are 
in bloom, the weeping willows, lilacs, &c &c are in leaf. 
Adieu, — write soon to 

Yours affectionately. 


[Sidney,] Thursday, June 28, 1824. 
. . . . But it is natural that you and Maria who 
are surrounded by so many dear friends and relatives, 
should not have so much leisure of the heart, to think of 

1 Crawford had a town house at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and 
14th Street. The historian Schouler (Vol. III., p. 305, " History of the 
United States ") makes the mistake of supposing it to have been his " man- 
sion in the country." 


me, as I have, who have no interests beyond my own 
family. I who live as it were in a land of strangers. To 
say this of a land where I have dwelt for 20 years seems 
strange and yet is true. The peculiar nature of Wash- 
ington society makes it so. Had the intimate acquaint- 
ances I formed when I first came been continued, twenty 
years would have ripened them into friendship. But one 
after another have been separated by death, the ocean, or 
mountains and water. Mrs. Wharton and Mrs. Barlow 
have long slept in their graves. Mrs. Pichon, whom I so 
tenderly loved and dear Mrs. Middleton, are on the other 
side of the Atlantic, as are Mad'm Neuville and several 
others that I admired and esteemed and some have been 
estranged by differing and conflicting politics. For in- 
stance Mr. Calhoun's family. You have no idea, neither 
can I in a letter give you an idea of the embittered and 
violent spirit engendered by this Presidential question. 
Our excellent friend Mr. Crawford, has been tried for 
the third time, by a committee of men of hostile politics, 
and like gold thrice tried in the furnace, comes out more 
pure and bright, his most violent enemies, with their keen- 
est researches can find nothing by which they can attaint 
the purity of his integrity. It is surprising to me that his 
temper is not soured or irritated by these repeated attacks 
of Malevolence and disease; instead of which he is now 
more mild and indulgent to his opponents, more patient, 
gentle and affectionate to his family than ever. The 
other evening speaking of Edwards 1 "I pity him,' , said he 
with emphasis, "I pity him/' It was just after hearing 
an account of the examination, in which his falsehood 
had been proved, and his embarrassment and agitation 

1 Ninian Edwards was appointed Minister to Mexico in 1824 and was on 
his way to his post when he was recalled in consequence of the discovery 
that certain anonymous letters charging Crawford with malfeasance in 
office were written by him. 


described, "Poor man, I pity him," repeated he while 
the moisture of his eyes confirmed the truth of what he 
said. He is now our neighbour, and will, I trust, be 
soon quite well. He told Mr. Smith he would come over 
this morning and sit part of the day, he proposed walk- 
ing, but Mr. S. advised him to ride. He is so venture- 
some that I expect he will make himself sick again. The 
other evening when I went over, I found him sitting on 
the Piazza, in a thin gingham gown. But I am going 
into details, in which perhaps you take no interest. This 
may be the last year we shall enjoy his society, and if we 
lose him we lose our best friend. But of this I own I 
have not much apprehension, as I think his chance much 
better than that of either of the other candidates, and 
that it will be strengthened by the very means used by his 
enemies to destroy him. But enough of what you care 
nothing about. 


[New York] Tuesday morning, [1824] ■ 
. . . . We had a charming party at his house, — 
he did it to please me, which made me feel a little dis- 
agreeable; had he only had Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, 
Bleecker, Maria and Mr. Boyd and Cooper 2 and Dr. Mit- 
chel 8 I should have been better pleased, because it would 
have been most agreeable to his own feelings. I did not 
go to dinner, — second thoughts made me think it best not. 
In the evening, in addition to the above personages were 
half a dozen more literary characters, a most interesting 

1 Mrs. Smith was on a visit to her sister, Mrs. Boyd— a rare occurrence, 
for she seldom left her home. 

2 James Fenimore Cooper. He seldom made a good impression on those 
who met him for the first time. 

3 Mrs. Smith's old friend, the scientist S. L. Mitchill, whom she had known 
when he was Senator from New York. 


assemblage to me. Among them Mr. Shaafaer, 1 the 
german clergyman. When he enter'd, the Dr. put a 
chair next mine for him and he sat by me most of the 
evening, gave me a great deal of information. When 
Dr. Mitchell came in, he recognized me in his old, cordial 
and friendly manner and not being able to get a chair be- 
side me, brought one and placed it right before me, where 
he sat a long while, talking with great interest of Wash- 
ington and Washington folks, and the happy evenings 
he used to pass at our house. No uninteresting topics 
you will say. "I really did not know how much I loved 
Washington until I had left it. I have since found it one 
of my greatest pleasures to meet with any one who knew 
or cared about it." This gave quite a charm to the 
Philosopher's conversation. When he left his seat, Mr. 
Cooper directly took it and I had a long conversation with 
him conjointly with Mr. Schaafaer. I could not elicite 
one bright idea, strike out one spark of genius from 
Cooper, he was heavy and common place, no flowing 
either of words or ideas, — he is a fine looking man, and 
had I not been told, I should have fixed on him as the 
author of the Pioneers, in this circle of more than a dozen 
literary gentlemen. Dr. Harris, 2 President of the col- 
lege and two professors were there. Mr. Moore, I be- 
lieve Maryanne knows. I found him far more agreeable 
in conversation than either of the other gentlemen. He 
was uncommonly agreeable, — some one has told me he 
admired Maryanne very much. I wish the admiration 
was strong and mutual. I passed a most charming eve- 
ning, in the enjoyment of the species of pleasure I most 
enjoy. The snow storm and two succeeding days, I sat 

1 Frederick Christian Schaefer, pastor of the St. James English Lutheran 
Congregation in New York. 

2 Rev. William Harris, President of Columbia College from 1811 to his 
death in 1829. 


all the mornings in this nice library. Maria part of the 
time with me, she says as I have already some of the 
calamities of authors, I shall enjoy by anticipation some 
of their privileges and comforts. As I have several 
days been indisposed, she insists on my laying late in 
bed, taking my breakfast in the library and lounging 
part of my morning in my flannel gown on the couch 
drawn close to the stove. Were you to see me reclining 
in the midst of my books and papers, you would really 
believe I was an author in fact. The evenings Mr. Day, 
Mr. Bleecher and others, pass'd at home with us, and Mr. 
Boyd and I seldom miss'd having a few games of chess. 
A number of ladies have call'd to see me. I have at 
least a dozen visits now on hand. Miss Segwick, the 
authoress arid Mr. Hillhouse 1 the Poet, were both to see 
me yesterday besides Miss Harrison, Mrs. Lawrence 
(Miss Smith that was daughter of former senator, whom 
I knew in Washington) she is a lovely woman. I have 
promised her an evening if possible. Dr. Mitchel and 
Mrs. Mitchel called last week and fixed on [torn out] 
for me to pass the evening with them. The friends, Mr. 
and Mrs. Johnson, Mr. Bleecher and Dr. Stevens were 
asked to meet me. Maria went with me, — we there met 
Mrs. [torn out] and more than a dozen literary gentle- 
men. Cooper could not come, but Dr. M. introduc'd 
another author to me, whose work is now in the press. 
He put them in the corner of the sopha by me, saying, 
"here Dr. McHenny. 2 is a lady who will talk of the 
wilderness and the savages and Braddock's defeat with 
you, and will talk poetry in the bargain." A singular 

^James Abraham Hillhouse, of New Haven. His wife was Cornelia, 
daughter of Isaac Lawrence, of New York. He published a number of 
long poems, dramas and tales. 

2 Probably this was a Dr. McKenney, but his writings have not pre- 
served his name for posterity. 


introduction, but it made us at once quite social. "These 
are barbarous themes for conversation," said I, smiling, 
"can you tell why Dr. M. selected them for our discus- 
sion?" "Oh, because they are the subjects of the novel 
I am now writing." Then we talked at large about 
his work. I knew I could not choose a more interesting 
topic, and it was one I too felt a peculiar interest in. I 
questioned him as to his mode of composition, the time 
he took, &c. "And do you enter into the feelings of the 
characters you describe?" "So perfectly," said he, "that 
my paper is often blotted with my tears and I weep, bit- 
terly weep, over sorrows of my own creation." He has 
likewise published two little poems. The poetry is not 
very good, but moral and tender. But the poor little 
author is one of the ugliest of God's creation. Yet he 
interested me more than Cooper who is a very handsome, 
fine looking man. He has more heart if he has not more 
genius. Dr. M. showed us a great variety of natural 
curiosities but as I told Mr. Smith, he is the greatest 
curiosity in his collection, he was vastly amusing, dressed 
himself in an indian or mexican mantle with some out- 
landish crown, and a mexican sword, and enacted Monte- 
zuma for us. Afterwards he put all the same savage 
regalia on Mr. Bleecher, who looked handsomer than I 
ever saw him in any dress. We called him Pizzaro or 
Cortes, his black eyes, whiskers, curling hair r and heavy 
eyebrows, gave him quite the appearance of a Spanish 
grandee. . . . 



[Washington,] Thursday night, 13th January, 1825. 
. . . . You must know society is now divided 
into separate batallions as it were. 1 Mrs. Adams col- 
lected a large party and went one night [to the the- 
atre], Mrs. Calhoun another, so it was thought by our 
friends that Mrs. Crawford should go too, to show our 
strength. Last week I was in the city and the girls 
wanted to go. Caroline and I got in the carriage after 
dinner, and in one hour collected a party of 10 ladies 
and above 20 gentlemen. I called at Mr. McClain's door, 
sent for him, told him I was going with the Miss C.'s 
and my girls. In a moment he said we should have as 
many members and senators as we wanted, he and Mr. 
Van Buren would muster them and take the box. With 
a strong Crawford escort we went and passed so agree- 
able an evening that this week they wanted to go again 
and the gentlemen said we must let them know in time 
and they would display a stronger force. The company 
last night agreed on it. So this morning the girls and I 
went out to make our arrangements. When we got 
there, the senate was sitting with closed doors. We 
went for a member who took us in the library and sent 
for Mr. Forsythe, Mr. McClane and some other of our 
friends, where by the fire on a sopha we made up our 
party and a very large one it is. As Mrs. Crawford for 
18 months has never been out, scarcely left Mr. C. an 

1 In Washington the chief candidates for the Presidency, all members of 
the same cabinet, were Adams, Crawford and Calhoun. Clay also was a 
candidate and Andrew Jackson was gathering a mighty following which was 
not fully reckoned with by the leaders in Washington. Crawford was a 
genial, charming man, and he captured Mrs. Smith completely. He was, 
in reality, a mere wire-pulling politician without any real claim to the office 
he sought. 


hour, I persuaded her to go and promised to stay and 
keep Mr. C. company, and here I am. We played chess 
until we were tired, he retired early and I am alone in 
the house, servants and children excepted, and embrace 
this quiet and tranquil hour to write to you. Contrary 
to my intentions I have been drawn more into company 
this winter than usual. I feel the spirit of society awak- 
ened. Never I think did I enjoy it more. It does my 
heart good to see Mr. C. so well and so happy. His 
happiness is quite independent of political circumstances, 
it depends chiefly if not entirely on his family, — he is the 
fondest father and one of the best husbands I ever knew. 
There cannot be a kinder or better man, and never had 
any public character more personal and devoted friends. 
The fate of the election is as uncertain as ever, — the 
friends of each candidate are sanguine of success, and 
tho' divided and known, as I have said above, yet when 
they meet, perfectly good natured and polite. And meet 
they do, at all the parties, and joke together very pleas- 
antly. I cannot perceive any animosity, any bitterness, 
or suspicion, — every one openly avows his predeliction 
and does his best to promote the interest of the candidate 
whose cause he has embraced, but it is all done, (as far as 
it respects society) in a fair and pleasant manner and I 
really hope the crisis will pass without turbulence or diffi- 
culty of any kind. At Mr. A.'s the other evening, there 
were Jacksonites and Adamites and Crawfordites all 
mingled harmoniously together. What a happy govern- 
ment, what a happy country! Since I have been con- 
vinced that Mr. C.'s happiness is so independent of suc- 
cess I have become almost indifferent as to the result. If 
his health is perfectly restored, he and his family will be 
happy in retired and domestic life. Pardon me for 
writing so much on this subject about which you cannot 


care much. It is at present so exclusively the object of 
public and private interest that I do not think or hear 
of much else and really just now cannot write of much 
else. . . . 


Sidney, January 14, 1825. 
. . . . Another evening had a charming social 
party at home, viz, Mr. Cfrawford'Js. 1 He enjoyed 
himself excessively, it was the first time these two winters 
he has had a room full of company. He looked perfectly 
well, and as this is a thing which no one will believe, 
except those who see him, his friends in Congress are 
very desirous that he should give a Grand Ball and invite 
all Congress and all the citizens and strangers and think, 
seeing with their own eyes, they might perhaps believe 
that he is no longer a sick man. Mrs. C. feels afraid of 
the experiment. He has now been secluded from society 
for 16 or 17 months, and she knows not what effect 
lights, noise, a crowd and the atmosphere of a crowded 
room might have. It is to be determined in a day or 
two. But I wish people would not like Thomas be so 
incredulous and would believe without seeing, or had 
good will enough to come and see without invitation. 
Mrs. C, Caroline and Anne Smith went to the Theatre 
the other night. We took care to let our friends in both 
houses know and to ask such ladies as we knew were 
friendly. The result was there was an overflowing 
house, very brilliant, and what is better still, with but 
few exceptions, all Crawfordites. Quite imposing, I 
assure you. Mrs. C. and party sat in the front box, — 
it was crowded with members and senators and as Mr. 

1 Where Mrs. Smith was staying, as she had no house in town that winter. 


Holmes, who called next day, told us every one was re- 
marking how ably Mrs. Crawford was supported. Cobb 1 
and Lowry 2 on one side, Van Buren I believe and I for- 
get who else on the other, with a phalanx behind. I 
went the previous evening and would not go, but staid at 
home and played chess with Mr. C. On every occasion 
that offers, his friends show Mr. C. the warmest and most 
devoted attachment. They will adhere to him faith- 
fully. Whether they will succeed in their endeavours 
is doubtful. Folks here generally consider Genl. J[ack- 
son] as having a better chance. It will soon be deter- 
mined. I wish it was over. Mr. C. seems no way 
anxious or impatient, he is always the same, mild, cheer- 
ful and affectionate. The first sound I heard of a morn- 
ing, was his voice calling to his little children, "Come 
here my son, come here my daughter and kiss Papa for 
good morning. ,, He is excessively fond of chess and 
plays constantly when not engaged in business. While 
I was there we some times substituted whist, and we all 
took turns to read, as he reserves his eyes for business, 
to which he attended every morning. . . . 

February n, 1825. Washington. 
The contest is last over, and our friend has failed, 3 
this was wanting to show his character in all its light and 
brightness. To me and not only to me but to all those 
friends who have seen him as near as I have, he appears 
a greater man, than any dignity or office could have made 
him. He heard the decision without any surprise, or 
emotion of any kind. His first words were, "Is it pos- 

1 Thomas W. Cobb, Senator from Georgia. 

2 Walter Lowrie, Senator from Pennsylvania. 

3 Crawford received all the electoral votes of Virginia and Georgia and 
some from New York, Maryland and Delaware, but failed of a majority, 
and in the election by the House Adams succeeded through the efforts of 


sible! Well, I really believed from what I heard last 
night that Jackson would have been elected.'' The day 
previous to the election as well as ever since has been 
stormy weather so that Mr. C. could not go to his office. 
On the day previous, the girls and Mr. C. brought their 
work in the parlour, and we read by turns aloud to Mr. 
C, but we were often interrupted by company. A great 
many strangers whom curiosity had attracted to Wash- 
ington, were drawn here by the same motive, wishing 
to see how the candidate looked at such a crisis. Among 
others was our old acquaintance Joe Lewis. He asked 
Mr. Crawford how he expected to spend next sum- 
mer ? — a droll question at such a moment ! "Probably in 
Georgia," answered Mr. C, "but that must depend on 
events." "True," answered Mr. L. recollecting himself 
and perceiving his question had indicated his certainty 
of the result. Soon afterwards, Count de Menou 1 and 
Mr. Ohner from Baltimore came in. "So," said Mr. O. 
after some previous conversation, "So, Adams it seems 
is to be elected." Count de Menou was startled, he 
looked at me and raised his eyebrows to mark his as- 
tonishment and then coming to me he whispered as if 
in exculpation of his friend's impoliteness, "You see, 
Madam, what a high respect every one has for Mr. C.'s 
strength of mind, otherwise no one would have hazarded 
such a remark just now." Mr. C.'s reply was, "Why, 
some still hope that Jackson will succeed." There was a 
succession of company until dinner time, among others 
Mr. Cambreling brought Mr. Hoar who told me he had 
recently seen Mr. Boyd. 

All the afternoon and evening we played chess. By 
way of a joke and to increase the amusement and in- 

1 Comte de Menou was Secretary of Legation and Charge" d'Affaires ad 
interim of France. 

Andrew Jackson. 

From the painting by Sully (1825) in the Corcoran Gallery, 


terest of the game, "Come" said I, "let it be the presi- 
dential game and let us try who will succeed. Which 
will you be Mr. C?" "Adams, Adams," said he, "for 
of the two I would wish him to succeed." "I will take 
the red pieces then and be Genl. Jackson, so take care of 
yourself Mr. C. for my cavalry can leap over any barrier 
you may oppose. I shall not be scrupulous I assure you, 
but take every advantage, not heeding even the consti- 
tution of the game." He laughed heartily at the idea 
and said he would oppose my rashness by his diplomatic 
skill and political wisdom, — the girls sat round and at 
every advantage called out "Now Jackson, now Adams." 
Stale mate, we agreed should represent Mr. Crawford. 
( In truth it was the result in the Presidential game which 
was anticipated by many of our friends viz., no election). 
Every game we called one ballot. After five hardly con- 
tested games, Adams came off with three. This little 
conceit gave occasion to a good deal of merriment and 
will give you some idea of Mr. C.'s state of mind, the 
night previous to the election. The 9th was a snow 
storm. Unless you realize the strong hopes of success, 
which during the last two or three days our friends had 
felt, and had infused into the mind of Mr. C. and family, 
you can not realize the state of our feelings. But I can- 
not go into particulars for I am fearful of trespassing 
the boundary of confidential or avowed information. 
But this far I can say, since our friends say it without 
concealment, and with an indignation which they do not 
pretend to disguise. The vote of one of the gentlemen 
of your state 1 decided the election. I presume without 
naming him, Boyd will know him, and this vote was 
given under the conviction that it was to be thus decisive. 
"What shall I do," said he to a firm and undaunted 
1 Van Rensselaer. See Mrs. Smith's letter of February, 1825. 


friend, with whom for more than two years he had acted, 
"the responsibility is more than I can bear." "Why so?" 
replied his friend. "You are a man in every circum- 
stance of life independent. There can be no motive ex- 
cept principle to sway your conduct. You are an old 
man. My vote is equally decisive. I am a young man, 
I risk everything, yet I have no hesitation ; take hold of 
me and let us stand firm." This was an hour before the 
balloting took place. "I am determined," answered the 
gentleman, "here is my hand, I give you my word of 
honor I will not vote for Adams." Not long after this, 
some one told the firm gentleman that the other seemed 
irresolute and anxious. He again went to him and 
called your N. Y. Senator 1 to aid him. Once more he 
was confirmed and repeated his promise on his honor. 
To give still greater weight, another friend went to him, 
as he was passing to take his seat. To this gentleman he 
repeated his promise and said he no longer was irreso- 
lute. Yet ten minutes afterward when he wrote his 
ballot, it was for Adams and settled the matter. The 
gentleman who gave me those details and lives in the 
same house said for the rest of that day and evening he 
was sick at heart, the defeat he could have borne well 
enough, but to be thus betrayed, thus deceived in one in 
whom he had trusted as in himself, gave him such a dis- 
gust to human nature, that he almost doubted the hon- 
esty of every man and determined to leave political life, 
and retire to the private walks of life. Thus far I wrote 
in the city, and left off friday morning. The result was 
known at three o'clock. Mr. Dickens 2 who brought in- 
telligence was much affected, more so than any of the 
family, soon after, followed Mr. Cobb, the nearest friend 

1 Van Buren. 

2 Asbury Dickens, Chief Clerk of the Treasury Department, who managed 
its affairs when Crawford was ill. 


of the family, and by dark, many other friends. Mr. 
Crawford talked of details of the election, with as much 
ease and indifference as a person wholly unconcerned, 
and after tea he became so engaged in his game of whist, 
that I believe he forgot the recent event, — some of the 
company played chess, some talked and laughed. It was 
not until eleven oclock we were left alone and I can 
truly say this evening was not only cheerful but gay. 
"The long agony is over," said Mr. Cobb, laughing and 
rubbing his hands, "We have ease and peace at last." 
"Well," said Mrs. Crawford, "the thing that reconciles 
me to the disappointment, is that it has been brought 
about by the hand of God, and not by the designs of men, 
and therefore it must be right." She, as well as most of 
our friends, think that his ill health prevented his suc- 
cess. The next day, Thursday and Friday and Satur- 
day, the parlour was never empty from ten oclock in the 
morning until ten at night, and in the evenings we had 
a circle, — one would have thought, instead of the de- 
feated, he had been the successful candidate. On Thurs- 
day morning G. Lafayette came and sat an hour, after- 
wards the old general. The good old gentleman seemed 
very much affected for he is very fond of Mr. Crawford, 
he pressed his hand between both of his, and then sat 
down so close, that I really supposed from his attitude he 
was going to hug Mr. C. He sat near three hours with 
him. On friday morning General Jackson accompanied 
by Genl. Swortwout 1 called. I was much pleased with 
him. He and Mr. C. shook hands very cordially, he did 
so likewise with Mr. Smith who sat near him and con- 
versed freely on common place subjects. The day after 
the election, Mr. C. received a polite, frank, and I might 

1 Samuel Swartwout, of New York, afterwards Collector of the Port of 
New York. His administration of his office resulted in grave scandals. 


almost say friendly letter from Mr. Adams, in which he 
not only requested, but expressed "an earnest hope and 
desire" that he would remain in his present situation, (is 
not this a full refutation of all the suspicions Mr. A. 
proposed to have concerning Mr. C.'s conduct in the 
Treasury). Without waiting to consult anyone, Mr. C. 
immediately wrote an answer equally polite and frank, 
declining the offer. Every friend who successively came 
in and heard his decision approved highly of it, — the 
motives he assigned were, that his political views differed 
so essentially from Mr. A.'s, that he looked upon it as im- 
probable if not impossible that they should ever agree. 
To accept a place in his cabinet as an opponent to his 
measures he deemed as unpleasant as it would be un- 
generous, and to be an accessory to measures he did 
not approve, was he thought inconsistent with honesty. 
Tho' sensible of the advantage his continuance in office 
might be to his young and rising family; tho' he was 
going home to comparative poverty, his integrity could 
not be shaken. "I cannot honestly remain," said he, and 
that settled the matter. What a good and great man he 
is! To me, he seemed greater at that moment than if 
he had been elected President. "Well boys," said Mrs. 
C, "only one of you can be a gentleman now. One, may 
go to college and the rest of you must turn in to plough- 
ing." "And instead of drawing . . . Miss Caroline" 
said Mr. Cobb, "you may turn into the dairy, make but- 
ter and cheese, and as for you Ann, you may go to spin- 
ning cotton." "And what shall I do ?" said little Susan, 
"oh you shall reel the cotton yarn. I have a pretty little 
reel at home for you, that goes click click." Susan 
jumped for joy. "And as for Bibb," continued Mrs. C. 
"I can find work for him too." (he is 3 years old) he can 
hold the spools, while I wind." All this was said with so 


much good humour and pleasantness, that I was almost 
tempted to think it was what they preferred. The whole 
family, including Mr. C. are much more gay and cheer- 
ful than for many preceeding weeks. Suspense is cer- 
tainly more painful, than any certainty. Saturday eve- 
ning Mr. Owen of Lanack, passed several hours with us. 
He is ugly, awkward, and unprepossessing, in manners, 
appearance and voice, but very interesting in conversation. 
This has been one of the most interesting weeks of my 
life. I have passed almost every hour of it with Mr. C. 
and his family. He liked to have them all round him 
and the evening of the election would not let the little 
ones go from him. Susan had her arms round his neck, 
stroking his hair, kissing him and playing with him, while 
his little boy sat on his knee, both children encompassed 
with his arms and often pressed affectionately to his 
bosom. His feelings, (for he must have felt on the occa- 
sion) vented themselves in fondness and caresses of his 
children. It is only through his heart that happiness or 
wisdom can reach Mr. C. Leave him the objects of his 
affection and he will be cheerful and happy, whatever 
else may befall him. But this week was a mournful 
week too, to me. I felt as if the approaching separation 
was that of death, and as I gazed on him, felt as if tak- 
ing a last, a farewell look, of one who for many years has 
been our kindest and dearest friend. It required constant 
effort to be cheerful, which I wished to be. One of his 
friends, shaking hands with me said, — "between his 
friends, there must ever be a bond of union. Yes, even 
when we have lost him." "Such a minority as Mr. C. 
has long had," said Mr. McClean to me "never could have 
been held together by any motive less powerful than per- 
sonal attachment. Never had any man such warm and 
devoted friends. For his sake they were willing to risk 


their all; — yea life itself." Nothing could reduce 

After church on Sunday, Mr. C. and the rest of the 
family, came out with me and spent the rest of the day. 
When I shook hands and bid him farewell, "not yet," 
said he smiling. "I shall come to see you again." Vari- 
ous rumours are afloat, concerning the members of the 
Cabinet, but without foundation. Mr. A. I do not believe 
himself knows. If, (as it is believed) the leading repub- 
licans will not accept places, he will be embarrassed, and 
must either take federal gentlemen or secondary repub- 
licans. As yet, he has shown a great desire to conciliate 
and it is said will be a very popular Pred. I hope so. I 
love peace and good will with every one. I hope his ad- 
ministration will do honor to himself and good to his 
country. All sides show equally good dispositions, — no 
personal enmity, no asperity. Genl. Jackson has shown 
equal nobleness and equanimity and received equal testi- 
monies of respect and affection. To the honor of human 
nature, as much attention has been paid the two unsuc- 
cessful, as the successful candidate. For foreigners this 
election must have had something new and imposing, and 
to every one presented a spectacle of moral sublimity. 
These agitations and anxieties are now over, for my own 
part, I have felt much and rejoice once more to sit down 
tranquilly. I shall resume my books and pen without 
any wandering thoughts. We now feel fixed for life, 
the retirement of Sidney, I have no more to look for- 
ward to any change in our mode of living. The few 
remaining years of my life, (if indeed years await me) 
I will endeavour to improve, as well as to enjoy in en- 
deavours to promote the happiness and welfare of my 
children and neighbors. The circle is a very contracted 
one, but contains sufficient objects to fill the hands, the 


heart, the mind. As for Mr. S. he is always calm. 
Nothing has power to disturb his strong and well gov- 
erned mind. He lives above the influence of the acci- 
dents of life. 

[Sidney] February 1825. 1 
I have returned home after passing a most interesting 
week with one of our best and greatest men — with one 
of our kindest and most valued friends. . . . 

When I returned to the parlour, the gentlemen were 
giving the family an account of the election — the mode in 
which it had been conducted and the causes which had 
produced this unexpected result. "Falsehood — dam- 
nable falsehood," exclaimed Mr. Cobb, "the poor mis- 
erable wretch after three times in the course of an hour 
giving his word of honor not to vote for Mr. A. — Five 
minutes after this last promise — did vote for him and 
this gave him a majority on the first ballot. ,, "Do not 
say such bad words," said Caroline, "bad words and hard 
names, will not alter the matter." "It is enough to make 
a saint swear," reiterated Mr. Cobb. "Such treachery 
and cowardice!" If Mr. A. had not been chosen on the 
first ballot it was calculated — nay, promises had been 
pledged, — that three states that voted for him first, would 
come over to Mr. C. on the second — and that on each suc- 
ceeding ballot, his course would have gained strength. 
Many who voted for A. did so only in compliance to some 
previous engagement with their constituents to make him 
their first choice, tho' they in their own minds preferred 
Crawford, and have since regretted, not following their 
own judgments, instead of the instructions of their con- 
stituents. It was likewise supposed that when Jackson's 
friends lost hope of success, they would prefer C. to A, 
1 From Mrs. Smith's notebook. . 


and would ultimately vote for him. Such at least was 
the understanding between the different parties, tho' it 
never seemed possible to me that Jackson who had so 
many more states than C. should ever yield to a minority. 
The only ground for such a hope, was the known im- 
possibility of C.'s friends — who had resolved at all events 
to vote for no one but him, even tho' there should be no 
President and that Mr. Calhoun should come in — he 
being Vice-P. About dusk several other members and 
senators came in. — The conversation turned on the same 
subject and every one appeared as much mortified and 
disappointed as if assured of success previous to the elec- 
tion. Two of the gentlemen proposed going to the 
Drawing room to see how things appeared there and 
promised to come back and bring us some account of it. 
Cards were brought Mr. Cobb and Ann, Mr. Crawford 
and myself made the game of whist, Caroline and Mr. 
Lowry played chess and the rest talked and laughed while 
they looked over our game. That ease which certainty 
gives the mind after long endured anxiety and suspense, 
supplied it with pleasurable sensations which for the mo- 
ment seemed to overbalance the mortification of defeat, 
and relieved from this pressure the spirits rose with an 
elastic spring and inspired us with mirth. 

This seemed to me the cause. But be it what it might, 
the fact was certain that we were all very merry and joked 
and laughed in all honesty and sincerity. Between ten and 
eleven the gentlemen returned, and gave us an account of 
the drawing room. "Luckily," they said, they went late, 
otherwise they could not have got in. Some of the com- 
pany had gone and made room for the others, but at one 
time the mass was so compact that they could scarcely 
move. "Pray Sir, take your finger out of my ear," said 
some one, "I will, Sir, as soon as I get room to stir." 

i82 5 .] A CROWDED "DRAWING ROOM" 183 

Some were absolutely lifted from their feet and carried 
forward without any exertion of their own. Persons 
who never before had been seen in company, had got in 
that night, altho' the Marshall who stood at the door of 
the entrance had done his best to prevent intruders and 
had actually sent many away. Genl. Scott had been 
robbed of his pocket-book containing 800 dolls., and much 
mirth occasioned by the idea of pick-pockets at the Presi- 
dents Drawing room. A good anecdote for the Quarterly 
Review! 1 "But when we got there," said Mr. Wil- 
liams, 2 "the crowd was not so dense. We could see and 
move. Mr. Adams was not more attended to than usual, 
scarcely as much so as General Jackson." "I am pleased 
to hear that," said I, "it is honourable to human nature." 
"But it was not very honourable to human nature to see 
Clay, walking about with exultation and a smiling face, 
with a fashionable belle hanging on each arm, — the vil- 
lain ! He looked as proud and happy as if he had done a 
noble action by selling himself to Adams and securing 
his election. More than one, pointing to A. said, there 
is our 'Clay President/ and he will be moulded at that 
man's will and pleasure as easily as clay in a potter's 
hands." "When Prometheus made a man out of clay," 
said Mr. W., "he stole fire from heaven to animate him. 
I wonder where our speaker will get the fire with which 
he means to animate his Clay President." "Not from 
Heaven, I warrant," said one of the gentlemen. "Genl. 
Jackson," said Mr. Williams, "shook hands with Mr. 
Adams and congratulated him very cordially on his 
sweep." "That was a useless piece of hypocrisy," ob- 
served Mr. Crawford — "it deceived no one — shaking 

1 The British Quarterly Review was generally critical in tone towards the 
United States. See for example in the October, 1823, number, the review 
of " Dwight's Travels in New England." 

'Thomas H. Williams, Senator from Mississippi. 


hands was very well — was right — but the congratulatory 
speech might have been omitted. I like honesty in all 
things." "And Van Ranselear x was there too," said Mr. 
Williams, "but tho' he too had a lady hanging on his 
arm, he looked more in want of support himself, than 
able to give it to another." 

"Poor Devil!" said Cobb, "one cant help pitying as 
well as despising him." 

"Pity!" said Mr. L[owry] — "I have no pity' for a 
wretch like him. If he had not strength to do his duty, 
why did he not confess it then one would have pitied 
without blaming him, but to lie — to betray — to give his 
solemn and voluntary word of honor and five minutes 
afterwards to violate that word of honor — showed him 
as destitute of honesty, as he is of strength — such a fel- 
low I cannot pity." 

"Well," said Mr. Crawford, "I do pity him, for it was 
weakness and only weakness that betrayed him; he 
had no motive, no hope of reward, it was not treachery, 
but weakness and I pity a weak man, even more than a 
weak woman." "Woman!" said Mr. Cobb, "why no old 
woman in the land would have been so weak." 

At this we all laughed, particularly when some one said 
it was in obedience to women that he had done so, for 
it w^s well known his wife had written to him on the sub- 
ject and that she ruled him with an iron rod. 

This I expressed my doubts of, knowing Mrs. V. to be 
a very mild woman, and whose character I should not 
suppose calculated to give her such influence. 

"You are mistaken madam," said a gentleman, "he 
refers to her on all occasions. I remember once dining 
in a very large company with Mr. and Mrs. Van R. 

1 Stephen Van Rensselaer was the eighth patroon. His wife was Mar- 
garet Schuyler, daughter of General Philip Schuyler. 


Some one present asked Mr. V. R. if he had read Baron 
Humbold's late work. He pondered some time on the 
question, hesitating — 'I — I — really am not sure. Have 
I ever read Humbold's work, my dear?' said he, reach- 
ing across a gentleman and speaking to his wife. She 
looked vexed and hastily replied, 'Certainly, you know 
you have read it.' " 

"Poor fellow, no wonder then," said one, "that he 
asked her who he should vote for." 

"Pshaw !" exclaimed another, "he did not get a letter 
from his wife during the five minutes that intervened 
between giving his word of honor and giving his vote." 

"No, no," said another gentleman, "But Clay, the 
grand mover, tempter rather — whispered in his ear, some 
one told me he saw him leave his chair and go and whis- 
per a few words, just after Van Buren left him." 

"That is not so," said another. "I heard it was Web- 

"No, not Webster," said Mr. Vale, 1 "I was in the gal- 
lery and with my own eyes saw all that passed, just after 
he had taken his seat in the New York delegation, and a 
few minutes before the Ballot box was handed him I 
saw Scott 2 of Missouri go and whisper in his ear, and 
some delay certainly did take place when the Box was 
handed to the N. Y. delegation." 

"Well it comes to the same thing," said Mr. Lowry, 
"it was Clay after all, for Scott was a mere emissary of 
his, and had previously by his arts secured the votes of 
this one too. Scott was irresolute, until Clay got hold of 
him, he had him with him until late last night. And 
altho his inclination led him to vote for us, Clay had 
power to persuade him to vote for Adams. 'Ah/ as 

1 Stephen Vail, a resident of Washington. 

2 John Scott, Representative. 


John Randolph observed after counting the ballots, 'it 
was impossible to win the game, gentlemen, the cards 
were stacked.' " 

"And that," said Mr. Cobb, nodding his head, "is fact 
and the people have been tricked out of the man of their 

When the news of his election was communicated to 
Mr. Adams by the Committee and during their address, 
the sweat rolled down his face — he shook from head to 
foot and was so agitated that he could scarcely stand or 
speak. He told the gentlemen he would avail himself 
of the precedent set by Mr. Jefferson and give them his 
answer in writing. One of the Committee told me from 
his hesitation, his manner and first words, he really 
thought he was going to decline. 

If success, thus discomposed him, how would he have 
supported defeat ? 

The day of the election was a heavy snow-storm — this 
was a fortunate circumstance, as it prevents the gathering 
together of idle people, who when collected in crowds, 
might have committed some foolish violence. Indeed in 
one ward of the city, Mr. Vale told me, an effigy of Mr. 
Adams had been prepared and had it not been a stormy 
day, his opponents among the lower citizens would have 
burnt it. This would have excited his friends, (partic- 
ularly the negroes, who when they heard of his election 
were the only persons who expressed their joy by Hur- 
ras) some riot might have taken place. Among the 
higher classes of citizens, no open expressions of exulta- 
tion took place. Respect and sympathy for the other 
candidates, silenced any such expression. 

Is there any other country, in which such earnest and 
good feelings would have governed the populace ? 

The clapping in the Gallery of Congress, was short as 


sudden — it was silenced by loud hisses, before the order 
of the Speaker to clear the Galleries could have been 
heard — silenced by popular feeling. And a simple order, 
without the application of any force, instantly cleared 
them. How admirable are our institutions. What a 
contrast does this election by the House of Representa- 
tives form to the elections of the Polish Diet. They 
were surrounded by foreign armies, controlled by foreign 
powers. In Washington on the 9th of February not a 
sign of military power was visible and even the civil 
magistrates had nothing to do. 

While the electoral votes were counting, (which was 
done by the Senate and House conjointly) foreign min- 
isters, strangers of distinction and General Lafayette 
were present. But when the Senate rose and the house 
formed itself into a Body of States to elect the Presi- 
dent, the Senators withdrew from the floor, and all other 
persons from the House. "What even General Lafay- 
ette?" said I, "Yes," replied Mr. Lowry, "and had Gen- 
eral Washington himself been there, he too must have 
withdrawn." The delegation of each State, sat together 
and after ascertaining by ballot which candidate had the 
majority in the State, appointed one of its delegation, to 
put the ballot for that candidate into the Ballot box. 

The whole proceeding was conducted with silence, 
order and dignity, and after the Ballots were collected 
Mr. Webster and Mr. Randolph were appointed the 
Tellers. It was Mr. Webster who with an audible and 
clear voice announced J. Adams elected. 

Such a scene exhibited in perfection the moral sublime. 

The succeeding day, Thursday, citizens and strangers 
crowded to pay their respects, not only to the President- 
elect, but to Mr. Crawford and Genl. Jackson. Mr. 
Crawford's drawing room was never empty from eleven 


o'clock in the morning until eleven at night. This morn- 
ing he did not seem as well as he had done of late. He 
looked pale, serious and languid, but he conversed with 
his usual gentleness and cheerfulness. The evening of 
the election, he kept his little children up later than usual. 
At twilight they sat on his knees — incompassed in his 
arms — and he seemed to enjoy with even more than his 
usual fondness their caresses. I observed him often 
press them to his bosom and kiss them. Little Susan, 
kneeling on his lap, hugged and kissed him and stroked 
his cheeks and played with his hair, until Mrs. Crawford 
fearing she would tease or fatigue her father, would 
have taken her away, "No, no," said he, "clasping her 
and his little son tightly to his bosom, "no, no, leave them 
with me — they do not fatigue me." And while at cards 
they were either standing by his knee or on the sopha 
behind him, bobbing their heads, now here, now there, 
pressing first one, then the other cheek and playing vari- 
ous little tricks, which on other occasions seemed to dis- 
turb him, but this evening, tho' deeply interested in his 
game, he did not check them, nor would permit them to 
be sent to bed, but every now and then turned to press 
their heads and kiss them. Amiable affectionate man! 
Affection was the most effectual balm to heal any wound 
disappointed ambition inflicted. 

On this day too — Thursday — he had them constantly 
by him. His wife, his daughters, his younger children 
and myself were the whole time with him. Even Mrs. 
Belmoni, the old nurse could not stay away, but often 
made excuses to come in the drawing room. "Poor old 
woman," said he, on her leaving the room, "she seems to 
take it to heart more than any one." 

"It is the idea of being separated from the children, 
and family," said I. "She told me yesterday that she 


would never leave you, that whether you would or no, she 
would go to Georgia with you and that if you had 
nothing but a crust to give her, she would stay with you, 
for that it would break her heart to be separated from the 
children." Mr. Crawford seemed affected and I thought 
I saw his eyes glisten. 

How every one who knows this man loves him ! 

Among the earliest visitors was George Lafayette. 
How affectionately he held Mr. C.s hand between both 
his, while his countenance beamed with tenderness and 
sensibility. His father he said was detained by com- 
pany, but the moment he was free he should be here. 
He sat about an hour. The conversation this morning 
was entirely on commonplace subjects — none of the vis- 
itors alluded to what had taken place. About one o'clock 
General Lafayette came. ... It was not until four 
oclock that Genl. Lafayette left his friend and when Mr. 
C. joined us at the dinner table, he mentioned among 
other things that he had said, had Jackson been chosen, 
Mr. Irving, (former Minister in Spain and a warm 
friend of Mr. C.'s then in Paris) would never have for- 
given him, but would have attributed his election to him, 
at least to the eclat, which his arrival in the U. S. had 
given to the military. "In order to avoid any such influ- 
ence," continued the General "and to show that I re- 
spected the civil, more than the military power, I have 
invariably avoided wearing uniform, and on every occa- 
sion since I have been here, have reviewed the troops in 
my plain blue coat and round hat." Mr. Crawford ex- 
pressed his high appreciation of the delicacy and dis- 
cretion Genl. Lafayette had shown, not only in this but 
in every other circumstance relative to the Presidential 

Before the candles were light, visitors arrived — Col. 


and Mrs. Bomford, and Judge Johnson were among the 
earliest and as soon as we had taken our tea and coffee 
we commenced our usual harmless game of whist — harm- 
less as we never played for anything. It was difficult to 
think up a commonplace conversation, where every one 
felt so much and cards was a good resource. 

Soon after Mr. Van Buren and McClean (of Del) 
came in. As soon as the game was finished I gave up 
my hand to Mr. Van B. and sat by Mr. McClean with 
whom Mrs. C, Caroline and I had an interesting con- 
versation, as we sat on the sopha, the opposite side of 
the rest of the company. 

"And how do you bear our disappointment?" said I 
to Mr. McC, who is a particular friend. "I am sick, 
sick at heart," replied he. "I could not come here yes- 
terday — I felt too wretchedly. I went to bed for an 
hour or two and when a little calmed, rose and poured 
out all my feelings in a letter to my wife. I gave her the 
whole history and then felt a little easier." 

"Why you bear it worse than any one I have seen," 
said I. 

"Oh, Mrs. Smith," said he, "Defeat I could have 
borne as philosophically as any one, but, falsehood, de- 
ceit, treachery, from one in whom I had trusted, with as 
much fullness and confidence, as I trusted myself, that / 
could not bear. Mrs. Smith, it has so disgusted me with 
political men and political life — nay with mankind itself, 
that I wish I could shut myself up for life and have noth- 
ing more to do, with any one but my wife and children. 
I look around — and exclaim where is there one man I 
can trust! and I feel there is not one!" 

"Why what can have produced such disgust against 
your species?" asked I. 

"Treachery and falsehood," replied he, "where I be- 


lieved was honor and truth. Genl. V. R. has for two 
years been one of our mess. He has betrayed those with 
whom he broke bread. We conversed before and con- 
fided in him as one of ourselves. He always professed 
himself one in our views, our plans, our hopes, and this 
very morning, not half an hour before he betrayed us, he 
pledged me his word of honor, that he would not vote for 
Adams. After the Senate withdrew, some one came and 
told me he was walking in the lobby, and looked anxious 
and perturbed. I went to him and asked him what dis- 
turbed him. 'McClean,' said he seizing my hand, 'the 
election turns on my vote — one vote will give Adams the 
majority — this is a responsibility I am unable to bear. 
What shall I do?' 

" 'Do,' said I — 'do what honor, what principle directs. 
General you are an old man. All the circumstances of 
life place you above the comon temptations of men. You 
want nothing, you have no motive but duty to sway you. 
Look at me, I am a young man, I have nothing — I have 
a large family. My vote like yours would turn the scale. 
I feel a responsibility as mighty ; but General, the greater 
the responsibility the greater the honor. From three 
we are to choose the man we think the best man. You 
have often said in your estimation that man was Craw- 
ford — why then hesitate? take hold of me, let us march 
boldly on and do our duty.' 

" 'I am resolved,' announced the general, 'here is my 
hand and I give you my word of honor not to vote for 

"I then quitted him, but to make assurance doubly sure, 
I went to Archer and begged him to go and receive the 
same pledge. He did so, the General repeated to Archer 
what he had said to me and gave him his word of honor 
he would not vote for Adams. 


"A little while after this, a friend whispered me, that 
from the General's looks, he was afraid he was again 
wavering. Another gentleman told me that during this 
interval, the speaker had been seen whispering with him. 

"I then went to Van Buren and begged he would go 
and talk with him, for the poor old man seemed stagger- 
ing under the weight of responsibility. When Van B. 
went to him he was passing round the house to take his 
seat with N. Y. delegation. He stopped to listen and 
again to Mr. V. B. repeated his promise on his word of 
honor, that he would not vote for Adams. After he took 
his seat next Mr. Morgan, he repeated it to that gentle- 
man and a few minutes afterwards he must have written 
the name of Adams, which he put in the ballot box. 
After this, can you wonder that I was sick at heart and 
disgusted with politics and politicians." 

"Have you seen him since ?" asked Mrs. C. "Yes," re- 
plied Mr. McC. "When the election was over, as I was 
leaving the House, I saw him coming to me, I hurried 
forward to avoid him, he hurried after me, when I 
reached the door I saw a hack, in which were three 
gentlemen. I jumped in, knowing he could not follow, 
when I got home, I ran up in my own room, but had not 
been long there when he followed, he came in, he looked 
wretchedly, tears were running down his cheeks, 'forgive 
me, McClean,' said he, stretching out his hand. 'Ask 
your own conscience General and not me,' said I turning 
away. Since then he has been in Coventry. A similar 
scene took place with V. B. and the other gentlemen of 
the mess, we let him continue with us, sit at the same 
table with us, but we do not speak to him. He is be- 
neath anything but contempt, and he is an old man." 

"What possible motive?" inquired I, "can you assign?" 
"None," replied Mr. McC, "none, weakness, pure weak- 


ness, as he said, the responsibility was more than he 
could bear." 

"He has always," said I, "been considered as a pure 
and honorable man." 

"Always," replied McC, "and even now I do not im- 
peach his purity — it was shear weakness of mind, he 
never, you know, was thought a man of much under- 
standing, and it is supposed is absolutely governed by his 
wife and it is said, she has written earnestly on the sub- 
ject — he might be afraid to disobey." 

While we were thus conversing, a servant entered and 
giving a letter to Caroline, said, it is brought by Mr. 
Adams Steward. For 18 months Caroline, has opened 
read and answered all her father's private letters and did 
not hesitate to do so now. 

After reading it, she handed it to McClean, saying, it 
contains no secrets, only a repetition of an offer already 
verbally made, or rather a request that my father would 
continue in his present office. Mr. McC. read it and said 
it was polite, frank and friendly and asked what were her 
father's intentions. "To decline" answered she. "I am 
rejoiced to hear it," said Mr. Mc. "Oh we have but one 
wish," said Mrs. C, "and that is to return as soon as possi- 
ble to Georgia, it is absolutely necessary for Mr. Craw- 
fords health and that is all we care for." The letter was 
laid aside, until the company should go and Mr. McC. ad- 
vised her not to give it to her father until the next morn- 
ing, as it was late and he might be fatigued. 

Before he left his room the next morning and imme- 
diately after taking his breakfast, he answered Mr. A.'s 
letter. In a frank and friendly manner, without consid- 
ering the various meanings that might be attached to a 

Mr. Adams was : "Dr. Sir — I avail myself of the first 


moment, since I have been notified of the election of yes- 
terday, to express to you my earnest hope and wish that 
you will remain in your present situation, (or retain 
your present office) I do not recollect which. I remain, 
Sir, with sincere respect your humble Servt." To this 
Mr. C replied with less conciseness. "Dr Sir — I have 
received and hasten to answer yr friendly letter, But hav- 
ing long since deliberately made up my mind not to re- 
main in my present situation after Mr. Monroe's term 
of service expires, You must allow me to decline your 
frank and friendly offer, which had it not been other- 
wise I might have been induced to accept. With sincere 
respect your humbl" 

This was written ready to send when two or three 
gentlemen, his friends, entered and he showed it to them. 
One objected to the word present situation, thinking 
Mr. Adams might imagine he would accept the office of 
State. As this interpretation might be given, he did not 
object to striking out that expression. That in any cir- 
cumstances he might have been induced to accept a place 
in the office, was a thing these gentlemen deemed de- 
grading to him and injurious to the Republican party. 
He argued, he meant it as merely complimentary and 
he thought the offer on Mr. A.'s part required from him 
at least the most obliging mode of declination. But this 
was overruled and one gentleman wished him to say, 
that in no circumstances could he be induced to accept 
— this he resolutely refused — "friendly letter," was ob- 
jected to — likewise "frank and friendly offer.'' As the 
repetition of the word friendly was inelegant and un- 
necessary he consented to expunge the first friendly ; but 
insisted on retaining the word in the second place — much 
argument ensued and had one of the gentlemen had his 
way, a rude answer would have been sent. I was shocked 


at such illiberality and narrow-mindedness and glad that 
Mr. C. would not yield — the answer contained these, or 
nearly these words — 

"In acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 
10th I must be permitted, Sir, to decline the frank and 
friendly offer it contains and am with high respect your 
humble servant. ,, Mr. C.'s frank and generous temper 
prompted him to a more courteous answer, but deeming 
it a thing of little importance he yielded to this concise 

He was worried by their petty objections, which they 
urged and argued about as matters of great importance 
and showed more impatience and irritation and yielded 
rather because he was wearied and worried than because 
he deemed it of any consequence. . . . 

When no visitors were present, Mr. C. played whist 
and seemed in his usual spirits. A large circle collected 
in the evening and as they were particular friends many 
details respecting the election took place, by which it was 
evident they hoped for ultimate success, could the de- 
cision have been delayed ; at any rate, they meant had it 
been in their power to have prevented an election, think- 
ing it a less political evil to have the vice-President fill the 
presidential chair, than either Adams or Jackson. Those 
moderate people of their own party think differently and 
prefer the present result to a long-contested election, but 
all agreed it was Mr. Clay who had decided it, and would 
have done it in favour of either of the other candidates to 
whom he had given his support. 

On Saturday, Congress was not in session, and the 
whole morning the drawing-room was crowded with 
company, both ladies and gentlemen. The four mem- 
bers of parliament and many other strangers called. 


In the evening, among other gentlemen who were 
there was Mr. Owen of Lanark. 1 ... He has pur- 
chased of the Shakers, their establishments at Harmony, 
consisting of many excellent buildings, manufactures in 
full operation, Gardens, orchards, vineyards — corn fields 
— and 30,000 acres of ground. 

Mr. Owen cares not how degraded, vicious or ignorant 
his new colonists may be, as he feels the power of his 
system such, that they can soon be rendered vir- 
tuous and educated. At Lanark, he said he had com- 
menced with the dregs of the dregs of society. In a 
population of 2400 criminals and ignorant persons, he 
had never made any punishments or rewards, beyond a 
small fine, to restrain vice and encourage happiness which 
resulted from good conduct and to encourage virtue. In 
the course of a year the fines had not amounted to quite 
40 shillings. "They want nothing and therefore are 
without tempation — make a man happy and you make 
him virtuous — this is the whole of my system, to make 
him happy, I enlighten his mind and occupy his hands 
and I have so managed the art of instruction that in- 
dividuals seek it* as an amusement. Two of the most 
powerful moral agents I use, are musick and dancing. 
Relaxation after labour, and amusement are both phy- 
sically and morally necessary. Dancing combines both 
exercise and amusement, and of all pleasures musick is 
the most innocent and exhilerates the spirits, while it 
soothes the passions. I require my people to labour only 
8 hours out of the twenty-four. Instruction and amuse- 
ment diversify the intermediate hours." 

1 He was a social reformer of great renown in his day. He delivered a 
lecture at the Capitol, March 7, 1825, which Monroe and Adams attended. 
He established a community in Indiana in 1824 which failed in three years. 
In 1828 he projected a community in Mexico, but the scheme fell through, 
because the Mexican government insisted the Catholic religion should pre- 
vail, and Owen was a freethinker. 

i825] OWEN OF LANARK i 97 

"And can you deter from vice and stimulate to virtue 
without the fear of punishment or hope of reward ?" 

"Yes," said he, "fear and hope are equally banished, 
actual enjoyment, which is the consequence or result 
of good behavior is sufficient." 

"If you make the present life so happy, so all sufficient, 
I fear they will not wish for another." "But," said he 
smiling, "if their present life prepares them for a future 
life, is not that sufficient?" 

"I have endeavored," said he, "to gather from the ex- 
perience of others. I avoided all those principles and 
systems which have failed to make men happy — in other 
words virtuous. Or rather I have selected from the 
experiments made in morals, only such as have been 
proved good and sufficient. And with these materials 
I am making a new experiment, and feel no doubt of its 
success. Education is the foundation on which I build — 
enlighten men's minds and they will discern and under- 
stand what will promote their good. Take away want 
and you take away tempation — make men happy and 
you make them virtuous — these are my governing prin- 

Cool and dispassionate in his manner, slow and even 
difficult in his enunciation — with a face indicative of a 
strong mind, but no imagination, it is difficult to conceive 
that Mr. Owen is a vissionary and enthusiast — yet so 
he is called. . . . 


One morning (a few days before Mr. Crawford after 
his resignation of office left the city,) I was sitting with 
him and the family, when the servant entered and said, 
1 From the notebook. 


Mr. Dickison his Barber, had called and wished to know 
if he might come in. "Certainly," said Mr. C. "ask 
him in." 

The honest man, was accordingly shown in. He was 
dressed in his Sunday clothes and evidently came on a 
visit, and not on business. He did not approach, but 
stood at the door twisting his hat in his hand, not em- 
barrassed, so much as agitated. "Take a chair, take a 
chair," said Mr. Crawford, pointing to one near him. 
The good fellow obeyed, looked up with eyes full of 
tears, but could not for some moments speak, at last 
he said, "They tell me, Sir, we are soon to lose you." 
"It is true," said Mr. C. "I am going home" — another 
pause — "I am heartily sorry to hear it," said he at 
last, "every one that knows you is heartily sorry. It is a 
long while, Sir. since you've been home, and so I was 
thinking your garden might be out o' sorts, which as 
you love gardening so, is a pity. No one belikes has 
saved good seed for you, and as you know, Sir, mine is 
an extraordinary good garden, I have been putting up 
a parcel of the finest seeds I saved and if you will not be 
affronted, should like you to take them with you — and 
should consider it a great favour." "Willingly, and 
thank you, Dickison," replied Mr. C. On this, the 
honest barber's countenance brightened up, he handed 
the parcel, saying, "Would to the Lord, I had had as 
many votes, they should all have been as freely given to 
you Sir" — Then turning to Mrs. C. and looking at the 
children — "And with your good leave, madam, I should 
like to cut the young gentlemens hair once again, before 
they went." "Certainly," replied Mrs. C. He then 
looked first at one, then at another, then at Mr. Craw- 
ford, with great emotion, and eyes brimful of tears. He 
seemed to be studying for some other mode of expressing 

i8a 5 ] CRAWFORD'S BARBER 199 

his affection, but could find none, so, slowly getting up 
and approaching Mr. C, who held out his hand to him, 
he seized it, and while he held it pressed between both 
of his, he exclaimed, "Well, God bless you, Sir, God bless 
you. Yes, wherever you go and as long as you live, may 
God in his mercy help you!" and unable to say more, he 
shook hands with the rest of the family, and wiping his 
eyes with the back of his hand, bowed low and hurried 
out of the room. 


While Mr. Crawford was in the country, (the autumn 
before he left the district) he was too ill to be regularly 
attended by his barber, when therefore his services were 
required he was sent for. Such were the exaggerated 
rumours afloat concerning Mr. C.'s health, that it was 
impossible to ascertain the truth and both political friends 
and enemies at a distance were in a constant state of 
suspense and anxiety. It was an important point to both 
parties, one endeavoring to lessen, the other to exag- 
gerate the reports of his illness. Persons were sent on 
the part of his opponents, (who were most apprehensive 
of deception) to see with their own eyes and hear with 
their own ears. One morning when two gentlemen of 
this description, were with him, his barber arrived. He 
was a good-mannered talkative man, who for twenty 
years had been chief barber to the whole of Congress, 
and had for the sake of his amusing gossip been in- 
dulged by the members in his communicativeness and 
familiarity. "What do you think, Sir ?" said he to Mr. 
C, yesterday, "a strange gentleman from N. York came 
to me. 'Dickison,' says he, 'you are Mr. Crawford's bar- 
ber I hear, so of course you must know the truth, — they 


tell me he is blind, now, my good man, do for God's sake 
tell us if it is so — speak the truth and you shall be well 
rewarded.' 'Sir, 1 says I, 'if a blind man can write like 
this,' pulling your note out of my pocket and showing it, 
'if a blind man can write such a fair round hand as that, 
then Mr. Crawford is blind, for that very note did he 
write his own dear self.' La, Sir, I wish you had seen 
how disappointed and mouth fallen the fellow looked. 
Yes, yes, I knew how it was, right glad would he have 
been to have heard you were blind." 

"Ha! ha! ha!" echo'd Mr. Crawford. "Why so I am 
blind Dickison, at least too blind to write a single line. 
My daughter wrote that note." 

The poor barber in his turn looked mouth fallen and 
glanced at the two strangers who were present and then 
at Mr. C. as much as to say, "but why need you let these 
spies know as much." 

But Mr. C. would as freely have let the whole world 
know, for in this, nor in any other instance, however 
trifling would he consent to deceive, or mislead opinion 
public or private. I remember in the winter after his 
return, I joined his family in persuading him to receive 
his numerous visitants in the drawing room, instead of 
his chamber, that he might have less the appearance of an 
invalid. He consented on condition he might have his 
large easy chair. 

It was placed on the side of the room on which were 
the windows, so that the light fell on his back and his 
face remained in shadow — what was still worse, the win- 
dow curtains were of green silk and gave his complexion 
a ghastly hue, — ensconsed in this great high backed chair, 
tinted with these green curtains, he looked ill, very ill, al- 
most corpse like, at the very time when his health was 
almost restored and his complexion far from pale. 


The most unfavorable impressions respecting his health 
were made — on all such as saw him only in his great chair 
and the worst reports consequently circulated. I urged 
him to dispense with the chair and substitute a sopha, 
and to have the green curtains changed for crimson. He 
laughed heartily at what he called my female artifices, 
and told me he could not play the coquette even to win 
the favour of his mistress, — the public. At last we wor- 
ried him into compliance, so far as to exchange the 
chair for a sopha — but never could prevail on him to 
change the curtains, so that through all this eventful 
winter, he looked in much worse health than he really 
was and even some of his friends thought, he was in- 
capacitated by disease for being President. 

But to return to our honest Barber, who was continu- 
ally giving proofs of his enthusiastic regard for Mr. C. 
on some such occasion, I asked Mr. C. what had given 
rise to such an uncommon attachment. "That is more 
than I can tell," said he, "but of my own liking for the 
good natured fellow it occurred oddly enough. I had 
lost one of my carriage horses and was looking out for a 
match. One day as I was riding along Pennsyl. Avenue, 
I met Dickison mounted on precisely such a horse as I 
wanted. I stopped and calling to him, asked if he would 
part with it and at what price. 

" 'To you Sir/ said he 'at no price/ 'How so friend ?' 
said I, 'why not to me — have I ever done you any harm ?' 
'No, Sir/ replied he, 'you have never done me harm, but 
you have done your country great harm by the vote you 
gave yesterday in Congress, and if you were to lay me 
down your whole fortune you should not have my horse/ 
1 'Well done my brave fellow," said I, holding out my 
hand to him. T wish every man was as honest as you 
and happy thrice happy would our country be/ From 


that day I employed him as my Barber and we have ever 
since been as good friends as honest freemen can be." 


[Sidney,] March 12, 1825. 
. . . . Yesterday we bade farewell to our excel- 
lent friend Mr. Crawford and his amiable family. To me, 
it was an affecting sight to see this truly good and great 
man, quitting the theatre of his ambition and his activity, 
to retire to comparative obscurity, inaction and poverty — 
voluntarily quitting it, rather than to remain in a situa- 
tion in which he said he could no longer do good to his 
country. He immediately and unhesitatingly declined 
Mr. Adams invitation to retain his place in the Cabinet, 
and when I suggested to him the interests of his family 
and his own gratification as motives for continuance, "I 
cannot do it honestly," replied he, and that settled the 
matter. "I cannot support measures I do not approve, 
and to go into his cabinet, as an opponent, would be very 
ungenerous." It is said, that no man is a great man, 
when seen near. In Mr. C.'s case, this is not true, for 
it is only when seen near, that all his great qualities are 
discernible. In the privacy of domestic life, and in the 
unguarded hours of social and confidential intercourse, 
he discovers dispositions of the heart and powers of 
mind, which public occasions do not call forth. It is 
easy to put on a smiling countenance and to assume 
cheerfulness for a few hours; particularly when public 
applause stimulates and rewards you. But it is not easy 
to be really calm amidst difficulty, conflict and suspense, 
to be cheerful when hope is blasted, when wishes are dis- 
appointed, when pride is mortified, when the object of 
ardent desire, of strong effort, of long continued exer- 


tion, of exclusive thought, is suddenly wrested from you. 
The full and crowded mind is suddenly left a void, and if 
not a strong mind, it would sink. Not so Mr. C. The 
object that occupied his mind, for eight, perhaps more 
truly for twelve years, is snatched from him, and disap- 
pointment inflicts so little pain, that it is hard to believe 
that hope could have given much pleasure. I passed the 
whole week of the election with him and studied his 
character with the care and attention with which a 
painter would have studied his features. He betrayed no 
anxiety, while in suspense, and no defeat in faction when 
disappointed. He was uniformly cheerful and the only 
difference I perceived was an increase of tenderness to 
his children. To me, this was one of the most interest- 
ing weeks in my life. Deep interest, strong excitement, 
produced by a great object, were circumstances of rare 
occurrence and offered me a proportionably rare enjoy- 
ment. Every day, or rather evening, I was in company 
with some of the most distinguished actors in this in- 
teresting drama. I knew the causes of their circum- 
stances and the motives of their actions, on which public 
opinion speculated and so often misinterpreted. It was 
curious and amusing to compare rumour and truth, and it 
was highly interesting to watch not only the development 
of characters, but of events. To this speculative and 
moral interest was added that of friendship and affection 
and I enjoyed that pleasure, (a pleasure which life so sel- 
dom affords) which a full mind and a full heart only can 
yield. In these large objects, individual interest was 
scarcely felt — selfish, I should have said. I thought so 
much of others that self was forgotten. Perhaps it is to 
this cause I must ascribe the indifference I have felt as to 
the fate of Lucy 1 and other things of the same nature. 

1 One of her stories. 


My thoughts and feelings generally run in one channel. 
When divided into separate streams they lose their force. 
This winter Mr. C.'s circumstances and character have 
been more interesting to me than my enemies. Our 
families have almost lived together and I have passed so 
much time in the city since we left it. I have been in 
more society than I have been in for many years, and 
never enjoyed it more. But this is all over now ! The 
dissolution of such an intimacy, the separation from such 
friends, inflicts almost as much pain, as the death of those 
we love and esteem. The cessation of an interest so 
deep and so lively leaves a vacuum in the mind, which 
common objects cannot supply. Madam Pichon, my 
first friend in Washington, after eight years intimate in- 
tercourse, was taken away. Mrs. Barlow succeeded; 
she too is gone, but not more completely lost to me, 
tho' divided by death, than Md. P., and good Mrs. St. 
Gemmes, tho' separated only by the Atlantic. Mrs. Mid- 
dleton 1 promised to supply the place of these friends to 
me. The ceremonious intercourse of strangers had 
given place to the confidential intercourse of congenial 
minds and kindred feelings ; from whence was springing 
up an intimacy, which in time might have ripened into 
tender friendship. But she, too, is placed by circum- 
stances on the other side of the ocean. Mr. Crawford 
and his family more than supplied her place. The others 
were exclusively my friends, but these last were the 
friends of my husband and children and our intercourse 
had all the kindness and intimacy of relationship. But 
again, we are bereft of what we most valued in our social 
circle and thrown once more upon ourselves for all the 
pleasures, which intimate and confidential society affords. 

1 Wife of Henry Middleton, of South Carolina, Minister to Russia, 1820- 
1830. She was a regular correspondent of Mrs. Smith. 


Well, few are as rich as I still am, few as happy in 
their homes, and less dependent on society. I enjoy 
society with the keenest relish, and so I do retirement, — 
each has its peculiar delights. One is left me, and I am 
determined not to allow the enjoyment of what I possess, 
to be lessened by the want of what I cannot obtain. 
"This was very wise," you will say, "but not very easy." 
For me it is easier than for most folks. Such is the 
conformation I have received from nature, that present 
objects only affect me in a deep or lively manner. Out 
of sight, out of mind, is pretty true, when applied to me. 
It is a defect, I know that, yet it is one I rejoice in, since 
it spares me great pain. However accute my sorrows 
are, they are soon over. I have had some that have kept 
me waking, but few, if any, that a sound sleep has not 
cured. I have ever found sleep to be a lethean draught, 
— in it I lose not only the sensation of pain, but the ideas 
which cause pain. This argues a great deficiency of sen- 
sibility. I know it well, and always have said, nature 
had given me only a deep sensibility to pleasure. Mo- 
notony and quiet are the foes dangerous to my happiness. 
Stagnation is like death. Stagnation of the mind is one 
of the worst of evils. 


[Sidney,] January 12, 1827. 
. . . . As Dr. Stevens once said to me, when 
complaining of nervous affections and restlessness of 
mind, "You have almost passed the stormy part of life 
and are entering on a calm and tranquil state, when all 
these complaints will vanish." His prediction is ac- 
complished and I am often astonished at the contentrnent 
and serenity I enjoy. Not that I can possibly imagine 


this arising entirely from physical causes. My health 
indeed is better, and not subject to the violent attacks I 
then was subject to, but I hope more may be ascribed to 
mental discipline, and tho' I fear, Maria, you do not like 
to hear me ascribe such effects to philosophical reading, 
yet in the truth I believe this the cause. For the last two 
years my reading has been almost exclusively of moral 
subjects as treated of by the ancient philosophers, and 
in their writings there is a calm and tranquilizing and at 
the same time elevating influence, that has a most de- 
lightful effect on the mind. But do not connect with 
philosophy, anything adverse to religion. As I once said 
the philosophy of Socrates, Cicero and Seneca, has no 
resemblance to that of the modern school. The immor- 
tality of the soul and the government of God is enforced 
with an eloquence that charms while it convinces and 
their system is no ways incompatible with that of re- 
vealed religion, nor have I found that it undermined my 
faith in Christian doctrine. I wish you would read 
Cicero's essay on old age, — every person advanced in life 
would I think derive advantage from it. My pen you 
see, will wander. I meant not this digression. . . . 
Last week I went in to pay some necessary visits and 
dined at Mrs. Thornton's. After dinner I sent for 
Brother and after passing the twilight hour with Mrs. 
Bourdeaux and Thornton, I took him with me to Mrs. 
Johnson's, 1 — this little woman improves exceedingly on 
acquaintance. I tell her she is too good for a mere fash- 
ionable lady and I believe her heart tells her so too, for 
since the birth of her son, she does not go into half as 
much company as she used to do. She has great sim- 
plicity of manners and her living and dressing in the 

1 The wife of Mrs. Smith's old friend, Colonel Richard Mentor Johnson, 
now Senator from Kentucky. 


highest style and the consequent flattery and attention 
she receives has not in the least spoil'd a natural kind and 
sensible disposition. I like her more and more. We 
spent an agreeable hour with her and staid to tea, when 
finding I would go to Mrs. Clays she said she would go 
with us. It had been three weeks since I had been 
there. Brother who had dined there the day before in 
a large company, said he was much more gratified by this 
social visit. Mr. C. 1 was very agreeable. I joked him 
a good deal on the learned judge he had appointed in 
Jersey. 2 "At first," said I, "he was a sadler, then a store 
keeper and then when made a justice of peace, he under- 
took to read Blackstone, the only law-book it is said he 
has ever read. What a learned judge and chancelor he 
will make !" "Stop, stop," said Mr. C, "you do not know 
Mrs. Smith I was a store-keeper." "I did not," said I, 
"but I know without your telling me that your studies 
were not limited to Blackstone." He took my raillery in 
very good part and defended the appointment very skill- 
fully and brought me to acknowledge it was impossible 
to please every body. The next evening I was engaged 
at a large and splendid party at Mr. Wirt's, and as Mrs. 
Clay said etiquette allowed of my so doing I asked brother 
to go along and appointed him to meet me at Mrs. Clay's 
at 7 oclock. The next evening I went in, Ann with me 
and Mrs. C. and party waited until near 8 for brother. — 
As he did not come, she told me I had best call for him 
at the President's where he dined. I did so, but he had 
just left the house. Mr. Clay had left word for him to 
follow us and I was afraid he would not, but staid in the 
reception room waiting for him and soon saw his face 
through the crowd and making my way found him and 

1 Clav was then Secretary of State. 

2 William Rossell had just been appointed United States District Judge. 


introduced him to Mr. and Mrs. Wirt, and kept his arm 
through the evening introducing him to all my acquaint- 
ances. It was a charming party and I enjoyed it the 
more for having his company. Mrs. Barbour 1 asked me 
and all the family, brother included, to spend the next 
day socially with her and to pass the evening. She 
always receives company on Saturday evening. We 
agreed. The next day, was as you may believe a very 
interesting one to me and the girls. Mr, Smith on that 
day, read his memoir on Mr. Jefferson before the Co- 
lumbian Institute. There was unexpectedly a great 
many ladies. The President of U. S. being likewise 
Pres'd of the institute, presided on this occasion. I felt 
absolutely sick from anxiety, as my dear husband is 
totally unaccustomed to speak in public, but every thing 
went off very well, — no hesitation or embarrassment, tho' 
from inward emotion his voice was low and indistinct. 
When you read the memoir, which I shall send you, you 
will have a new proof that my husband is no courtier, 
indeed, without servility I think I urged him to make 
some mention of J. Adams, — but he confined himself 
wholly to the subject of his memoir and tho' Genl. 
Brown, our good friend sat close before him and he did 
not spare military power and glory. 

Brother seemed really charmed with Gouv'r Barbour's 
eloquent and amusing conversation, — certainly few equal 
him in colloquial powers. Being engaged early in the 
evening at Mrs. Rush's, brother left us when we rose 
from table and we ladies retired to dress for the evening. 
You know Mrs. Barbour is almost as great a talker as 
myself, being both in very high spirits, which the girls 
declared were increased by champayne, we passed really a 
merry hour or two during the unceremonious ceremony 
1 Wife of James Barbour, Secretary of War. 

Henry Clay. 

Secretary of State 1825-1829. 

From the portrait by Edward Palton Marchant. In the State 
Department, Washington. 


of dressing. Between 7 and 8, the company began to 
assemble and tho' an uninvited and social meeting, the 
rooms were soon filled. Mr. Smith, for a wonder, made 
his appearance for a little while on his way to sup with 
the Typographical Society on its anniversary. Mr. 
Gales and 4 or 5 stranger editors, mostly members of 
congress went with him and did not return until after 
twelve, when as all the company were gone, to beguile 
the time I was playing chess with Gouv'r Barbour. Thus 
passed another most agreeable evening. We returned 
home, all of us in fine spirits. If I could, I would have 
gone on Wednesday to Mrs. Clay's drawing room, but 
Mr. Smith had an engagement in the city and I gave it 
up. However, we were as happy at home, sitting round 
a cheerful fire and reading English history and sewing, 
so much interested in the adventures of. Prince Charles, 
that we could not close the book until past 11 o'clock. 
Thus at home or abroad we are quite happy. We have 
frequent and agreeable and long visits from College 
friends and our winter evenings are as pleasant as sum- 
mer days. On Christmas we were very happy, as well 
as gay. Dear Mrs. Bomford and all her family came 
early in the morning and staid until late at night. In the 
evening about 20 young people joined us and musick and 
dancing and games enabled our young folks to have a 
merry christmas. . . . 


[Sidney,] Deer. 21st 1827. 

. . . . Next week there is to be a Fair, for the 

benefit of the Orphan Asylum. Every female in the 

City, I believe, from the highest to the lowest has been 

at work for it. Mrs. Van Ness spares neither time or 


expense and Mrs. Lovel for three weeks has been work- 
ing night and day and enlisted her husband and sisters 
who have painted &c, &c, besides begging for scraps 
and pieces of all kinds to dress dolls and make pin- 
cushions. From knit-stocking, clergyman's bands, to 
hats, caps, tables, and dresses the ingenuity of our ladies 
has been employed. Carrusi, the Italian musick master 
whom you saw here has lent his large elegant assembly 
room. Col. Henderson, (of the Marine Corps) lends the 
whole band of musick and his men are to decorate the 
room with greens and flowers. The Speaker of the 
House 1 has promised to patronize it. There are to be 30 
tables arranged in a semi-circle at each of which is to pre- 
side one married and 2 young ladies, wearing some badge 
to distinguish them. I took little interest because I had 
heard little of it, until last week when I went into the city 
to pay some visits. I found the zeal which prevailed 
there quite contageous and my enthusiasm was immedi- 
ately excited. Having nothing to give that was of any 
worth that depended on the expenditure of money, it all 
at once occurred to me, one of my MS might be turned 
to account. 2 I went in search of Mrs. Bomford, who was 
in the city, met her, got into her carriage, communicated 
to her my design, in case she approved it. She was 
absolutely delighted, thought it would give great eclat 
to the Fair, to have a new novel to sell. As I did not 
visit Mrs. V. Ness, yet thought it right that the offer 
should be made to her, as Chief Directress, Mrs. B. vol- 
unteered to go to her and to stay in the city and go 
with me to dine at Mrs. Thornton's. We called at the 
War Department to let Col. B. know, and then as I did 
not wish to go to Mrs. Vs. she proposed getting out at 

1 Andrew Stevenson, of Virginia. 

2 " What is Gentility or, The Brothers," was published for the fair. 


the gate and leaving me in the carriage. While she was 
in the house, Genl. Van Ness came up and discovered me, 
an awkward circumstance. Mrs. Van N. was equally 
delighted with the project and said nothing could have 
come more apropos, as that very moment she was writing 
to Mr. Pishey Thompson, to request his aid in making up 
a literary table. She promised to call at Mrs. Thorn- 
ton's after dinner to see me and arrange the affair. The 
time was so short, that only three printers who printed 
papers had hands and materials sufficient to do it. Mr. 
Gales was applied to, but declined. Duff Green 1 agreed 
to do it but could not promise to have it done for the 
Fair and his terms were very high. I left the business 
entirely in Mrs. V.'s hands, and have not heard on what 
she has decided. That evening, Friday, Ann and I re- 
turned with Mrs. Bomford and staid all night. The 
next morning she carried us to the city where we were 
engaged to dine with Mrs. Southard. 2 Ann and I passed 
a quiet, comfortable morning with Mrs. Clay, who is not 
well and talks of returning home, in a year's time as a 
thing, now certain and on her own account is pleased, v 
At three we went into Mrs. S.'s who for the last year has 
been kindness and sociability personified. Before we 
rose from the table, Mrs. Clay came in and looking at new 
caps and gowns and other articles of dress amused us 
until tea time when Mrs. and Miss Cutts joined us and 
soon after Col. and Mrs. Bomford who came to take 
us home with them. Mrs. Clay made us promise to go 
to church and spend the next day with her. This we did, 

1 At the time he was editing the opposition newspaper. 

2 Samuel Southard, of New Jersey, was Secretary of the Navy from 1823 
to 1829. His family and the Smiths were on terms of intimacy for many 
years. It was Mrs. Smith's brother-in-law, Chief Justice Kirkpatrick, who 
twitted Mr. Southard with his ignorance of naval affairs when he was first 
appointed Secretary by asking him if he could honestly assert he knew the 
bow from the stern of a frigate. 


and a most agreeable day we passed. Two or three gen- 
tlemen were there and Mr. Clay was more cheerful, 
frank and agreeable than I have seen him for six months, 
whether this proceeded from any new views or hopes, or 
a relief from suspense and uncertainty, I cannot tell. 


[Sidney,] Tuesday, Febr. 1828. 
. . . . Have you read, or heard read the debates 
in Congress, — those I mean on Retrenchment, — they 
were very inflamatory and I think disgraceful to both 
parties. 1 I should like to hear Mr. Kirkpatrick's re- 
marks on them, yet, notwithstanding, I could not ap- 
prove, I certainly was entertained. Anna Maria read 
several long speeches aloud; particularly Mr. Everett's 
and Mr. Hamiltons. On opposite sides and both marked 
by superior talents. Randolph too has been very amus- 
ing, but old Kremer exceeded every thing, his cackling 
hen will never be forgotten. But it is a sad thing to see 
Congress giving way to such merely personal interests, 
when it is the nation they should think of and feel for. 
Poor Mr. Clay, the Telegraph gives him no rest. It 
has got up the story of Col. Morrison's legacy to the 
College in a new and more aggravated manner ; I think 
he must now come out and defend himself. We have 
not seen Mrs. Clay since Mrs. Southard's party three 
weeks ago. The weather and roads render intercourse 
impossible. The weather now however is fine and if it 
continues a week, the roads will be good, yet even then 
I shall not expect to see our city friends and particularly 

J They were disgraceful. George Kremer, a Representative from Penn- 
sylvania, a reckless demagogue and freak, was the father of the false cry 
that Clay had sold his vote to Adams for the Secretaryship of State. 


Mrs. C. who is overwhelmed with company, besides a 
very large dining company every week and a drawing 
room every other week. She says when Mr. C. dines at 
home, he never dines alone but always has a social com- 
pany in a family dinner, which however is really the 
trouble of a large one. She is obliged to go to other 
peoples parties, sick or well, for fear of giving offence, a 
thing more carefully avoided now than ever. . . . 


Paris, rue Blanche, April 12, 1828. 

Dear and True Friend : 

I am finally about to write to you after a long silence, 
and in order to be able to tell you more I write in French, 
as it goes faster. I have but one hour to write this let- 
ter and wish to employ it well. It will be deliver'd to 
you by a young man whom I recommend to you. He 
will reside in New York in a commercial house. He 
leaves a father and mother and sisters who love him. I 
have learned by experience that nothing can mitigate the 
grief felt at such a separation except the hospitality 
which I received in your good and admirable country. 
However, in order to find this hospitality it is necessary 
to show that one deserves it. Mr. Hervey belongs to a 
respectable family. He is very genteel and well bred. 
His father loves science and is a good patriot, which are 
good recommendations in your country. Treat him, you 
and Mr. Smith, as you did us. This is the most fortu- 
nate thing I can wish for him. Introduce him to all our 
common acquaintances, and if he sends you this letter 
before going to Washington, please give him some let- 

1 Translation from the French. 


ters for your friends in New York and Wilmington. I 
wish for his sake that Miss Bayard were there. 

So many misfortunes may happen in one year that I do 
not dare speak to you about any one in America, but will 
talk to you concerning ourselves first. I will say that if 
I have not written to you it was not because I had for- 
gotten either you or yours, as you have done with me, 
for I received from Mr. Warden (who gave it to me) 
a work written by you, which I read with keen interest 
and which adorns my library to the great satisfaction of 
my personal pride, which is flattered by the talent of my 
friends. I have a daughter 21 years old, Henrietta by 
name, about whom I have already spoken to you, who, 
like myself, appreciates merit above all else. In con- 
sequence of this she was married a year ago. She re- 
fused what the world calls excellent matches in order 
to marry a very amiable young savant, who is an eloquent 
and most distinguished professor of physics, well edu- 
cated in literature and political economy, a good son and 
good brother, witty and gentle (two qualities hard to find 
together), and whom we have known for over 6 years. 
He kept my head turning for two years. I was thor- 
oughly tormented, dear friend, and I thank God for not 
having more than one daughter for I should lose my 
head if I had the anxieties to go through for another 
which I experienced for this one. You know how eco- 
nomical and industrious Pichon and I are, and that he 
understands business and attends to his own. In the 
positions he has filled we have made some savings which 
he invested well in property which has doubled in value. 
He has unraveled the affairs of my parents and thanks 
to his efforts my mother now enjoys a nice little fortune. 
We operated a farm for five years. It was a poor one 
but we have improved it and sold it at a good profit. 


We have bought the house we live in, have enlarged 
it, and instead of 3,000 francs income which the farm 
yielded in good years we now have 8,000. This enabled 
us to give Henrietta a snug little dowry, which, in our 
opinion, warranted our consenting to her marriage with 
a man of merit, pursuing an honorable career, and whom 
she loved, even though he had no fortune of his own. 
One of our friends who had acted as father to Mr. Pouil- 
let (now my son-in-law) ever since he arrived in Paris, 
at the age of 17 years, ought to have known us well 
enough to suppose that our least objection was the lack 
of a fortune (for with talent and good morals one can 
always be acquired). Mr. Pouillet ought to have sup-' 
posed that I thought too much of my daughter to receive 
a young man who was amiable, well formed, and with 
interesting features, as I received him, if my husband 
would not accept him as a son-in-law, provided he be- 
came attached to Henrietta. This was simply good 
sense. We did all we could to cause our friend to guess 
what we thought, but nevertheless they understood the 
contrary, and when the position of Mr. Pouillet, ap- 
pointed professor at the faculty of sciences, became im- 
proved and enabled him to marry, and when Henrietta 
had reached 19 and I thought he would ask me for her, 
she fell seriously ill and was between life and death for 
7 days. Pouillet ceased to come and my poor daughter, 
who has an elevated soul, persuaded herself that she 
hated him. This hatred made me shudder and I inter- 
preted it as another sentiment. It took her two whole 
months to recover. Her character had changed. She 
was on the point of marrying a stupid fellow, convinced 
that she would not suit a man of merit — she whose care- 
ful mental education and imagination are so well fitted 
to render happy the man who is capable of appreciating 


it. Pouillet was also on the verge of forming a ridicu- 
lous union, in order to forget Henrietta. All this lasted 
10 months. You who are a mother may judge of my 
torments. I could no longer sleep and shed many a bitter 
tear. My husband was in despair and blamed me for 
everything. If I had occasion to go out I went on foot, 
however tired I was, in order to meet Pouillet, convinced 
as I was that there was some misunderstanding which 
one word would clear up. However, a mother can not 
speak in such a case. 1 Finally, when about to marry, 
Pouillet felt that the sacrifice would be too great and 
found a pretext to break the engagement. I had used all 
my skill in breaking that of Henrietta and in estranging 
forever the poor young man who could never suit her, for 
an intellectual woman married to a fool is to me a mon- 
strosity. Breaking off the engagements was not all. 
How were they to see each other again? My elder son 
met his dear professor of physics, who was enraptured 
to see him again, as you may suppose. Theodore went 
home with him and then Pouillet came again. Dear 
friend, a mother feels for her daughter. When I saw 
him I was overcome and felt that the fate of my poor 
Henrietta, consequently more than mine, depended on 
that visit. My husband, enraptured, kissed me and told 
me to provide for everything, to agree to the marriage, 
and to offer a dowry. In a word, after two months of 
fears, of reticence, and new misunderstandings, Pouillet 
came and asked me whether I thought that Pichon would 
give his consent if he asked for Henrietta. I suppose 
you think my troubles were o'er. Not at all. Henri- 
etta, enchanted, did not wish to admit to her father or 
brother that she had been mistaken and that she did not 
hate her husband. Her father thought that he had 
1 Besides, I did not meet him. 


been mistaken and that she did not love him any 
more than the fool that she had come near marrying. 
Theodore, being persuaded that his sister only married 
Pouillet because it was my wish, grew desperate, al- 
though he used to like him as a brother. Thus, dear 
friend, this marriage took place in the midst of fears 
and reproaches to me, and while parting with a charm- 
ing daughter, my best friend, I had the sorrow of seeing 
my husband and son reproach me with having sacrificed 
her by making her marry a man she did not love, and 
with having deprived them of her without having se- 
cured her happiness. For a year, however, she has been 
the most happy of women, and that consoles me. Pouil- 
let's celebrity is increasing every day. His heart and his 
personal pride are satisfied. Their pecuniary situation 
is good. ... I assure you that I believe it is fortu- 
nate for my sons to have a brother-in-law who shows 
them that labor and talent are the surest roads to domestic 
happiness and fortune. Theodore is a man of parts, but 
lazy. He would have wished his sister to marry a man 
he did not like as well as this one, but who would have 
had sufficient influence to secure him a position so that 
he would not have to learn any profession. He is study- 
ing to be a lawyer and may become a distinguished one 
by working. He will then have glory, independence, and 
fortune. Jerome, the younger, is witty and full of ardor. 
He is studying all he can in order to enter the polytechnic 
school. I. hope he will not come out of it a soldier, in 
spite of what he says about it, and that he will acquire a 
taste for science and enter the department of mines or of 
bridges and highways, for I do not like military men. 
They would sell their country for a cordon. They do not 
understand liberty and are veritable despots. My son- 
in-law has a grand quality which I must not refrain from 


mentioning to you : he admires your country and you in 
particular. He read your ode five years ago and has been 
scolding me ever since for not writing to you oftener, for 
he is convinced (and rightly) that correspondence with 
you must be a great pleasure. Oh, how you would like 
my young married couple ! There is wit, patriotism, the 
morals of the golden age, imagination, extensive know- 
ledge, and Henrietta knows English and German well 
and plays well on the piano. All this is happiness for 
me, is it not ? And besides, they love me tenderly. My 
mother, who is over 84 years old, has preserved all her 
physical and moral faculties. She lives in our house. 
Unfortunately my children are away from home, but as 
I have excellent health I often go to them and they come 
to see me as often as they can. We gain by seeing one 
another as often as possible while we are able to live near 
or with them. . . . 

Good-bye, dear friend, and you and all who are dear 
to you please accept the assurance of my affection and 
that of Pichon, as well as his regards. 

A. Emilie Pichon, 

nee Brongniart. 

Mr. Jefferson's death caused us much grief. Such 
men are a loss to humanity and the glory of the human 


Monday. [1828] 
Yesterday, my dear Bayard, I passed some hours so 
agreeably that I must give you some account of them. 

1 Jonathan Bayard H. Smith, Mrs. Smith's only son, was born July 9, 
1810, graduated at Princeton in 1829, taking second honors. He practiced 
law in Washington till the civil war broke out, when, being a Southern 
sympathizer, he went to Baltimore. He died in California, August 20, 1889. 

i8 2 8] OWEN'S PHILOSOPHY 219 

Mr. Owen of Lanark, passed the day here. Never 
have I met with any one whose whole heart seemed so 
full of benevolence, whose mind was so exclusively occu- 
pied with schemes for the promotion of the happiness of 
mankind, his time, his thoughts, his feelings, his for- 
tune are all devoted to this all absorbing idea (for alas, 
he is but a visionary) that thus fills his mind, heart and 
time, with a confidence so sanguine as to banish every 
doubt of its possibility. In his ideal system of perfect 
virtue, and consequently perfect happiness, he loses sight 
of the inherent principles of human nature, and builds his 
scheme of happiness on an angelic nature. Or rather, 
he denies that there are any inherent principles of action 
in man, and asserts that he is the mere creature of cir- 
cumstances. "Man," says he, "is the effect, not the 
cause. It is not his natural virtue or his natural vice, 
which makes his happiness or misery. It is the good or 
the bad circumstances by which he is surrounded which 
make him virtuous or vicious. Circumstances form his 
nature." Here is his first error. To convince us, how- 
ever, of the truth of his hypothesis, he gives as an ex- 
ample : an infant born among Quakers and raised among 
them to manhood, and asked if the same individual raised 
from infancy to manhood among Jews or among savages, 
would not in each state be a totally different character. 
I allowed that he would be a different character, but not 
a different being, viz. that his opinions as to government, 
his faith as to religion, his mode of conduct, of living, of 
dress, his pleasures and occupations, would all be modi- 
fied by the condition in which he was brought up, and as 
to external circumstances, each of these individuals would 
be perfectly different one from the other, and yet, all 
would be as man the same identical being, that the 
Quaker, the Jew, or the savage, would love and hate, 


be revengeful or merciful, proud or humble, ambitious or 
lowly-minded, irrascible or gentle, — in fine, that under 
all these modifications, he was still the same being. To 
this Mr. Owen would not assent, but asserted that under 
a certain modification of circumstances, he would be ex- 
empt from hatred, revenge, malice, pride and anger, and 
this belief in his mind amounts to absolute conviction, 
the effort of his life had been and always will be, to bring 
about such a combination of circumstances, as should 
necessarily make man a perfectly virtuous and therefore 
perfectly happy being. He asserted that he had made 
a successful experiment at Lanark, where he had taken 
children from two years of age to 12 ; among many hun- 
dreds there was not an instance of jealousy, rivalship, 
anger or hatred, in any degree; that to effect this, he 
banished alike, hope or fear, and had neither rewards or 
punishments, the actual pleasure of doing right was a 
sufficient reward for success and a sufficient stimulus to 
effort ; That those who witnessed the effects of his system 
of education, said it was magical. "But, my dear Sir," 
said I, "did you ever see any of these little angels, 
after they grew up to be men and women?" He ac- 
knowledged he never had. "You knew them then only 
while their wills were controlled and directed by your- 
self, while in fact they were mere machines. I fear, 
Sir, when their passions were developed and their wills 
were allowed free action, you would find, after all, your 
angels were but men and women, — even pigs are pretty 
clean little animals, but when grown into hogs, are ugly, 
dirty creatures." Mr. Owen laughed at my exemplifica- 
tion, but denied my inference. Another of his funda- 
mental principles is, man cannot believe or disbelieve at 
will. Yet, in every state of society, viz. in all religions, 
Brahmin, Mohamedan, Jewish or Christian, this moral 

i8 2 8] OWEN'S SCHEMES 221 

impossibility is required of him, and non-compliance pro- 
duces an ideal criminality, which in all countries subjects 
man, either to suffering or hypocracy and by separating 
virtue from action, and by attaching it to Faith, it per- 
verts the moral instinct, and subverts morality, and in 
so doing lays a foundation for vice. 

That belief does not depend on volition, is a fact I have 
too forcibly learned from my own experience to deny, 
and I therefore agreed with him in the deductions he 
drew from this his 2d fundamental principle, but could 
not carry them out as far as he did, which was to believe 
nothing, as it respected religion. 

His scheme is to equalize property, or throw it into a 
common stock, so that no one will be very rich, and none 
poor. In order to accomplish this he would have society 
divided into communities, — no community to exceed 
2000 individuals, nor be less than 800. This community, 
instead of living in towns or cities, should form a kind 
of village, extending over ten miles square, — each com- 
munity should have within itself schools, manufactures, 
agricultural grounds, &c sufficient for the abundant sup- 
ply of every comfort, nay every luxury of life, and I 
suppose ten miles square in the fullest cultivation, would 
do this. The perfection to which machinery is brought, 
lessens manual labour in such a great proportion, that 
instead of labouring 12 and 14 hours a day, as mechanics 
are now obliged to do, in order to gain a competence, it 
would not be necessary for them to labour six or eight 
hours and would thus leave them a great portion of their 
time for intellectual and moral improvement and like- 
wise for amusement, which he thinks absolutely necessary 
for the perfection of morals, so much so that dancing, 
musick and other pleasures, are at Lanark and other 
places where he has tried his experiment as much a part 


of his system as the arts, sciences and mechanics. He 
would allow of no system of religion being taught, but 
would leave all men absolutely free to believe or disbelieve 
whatever they chose. Marriage is to be released from its 
present fetters and when a couple grew weary of each 
other, they would be allowed to separate and form new 
connections, and as his system is totally to exterpate 
every evil passion and there would be neither hatred, 
rivalship, jealousy, anger, or animosity of any kind, he 
thinks these separations would not frequently occur. 
Such are the outlines of his scheme for universal virtue 
and happiness and uninterrupted peace, — a scheme in 
which he has undoubtedly faith and which he not only be- 
lieves may be, but will be realized. All the world divided 
into small communities! The whole race of man to be 
perfectly virtuous and perfectly happy! I told him it 
would be nothing more than the Christian milenium, and 
I believed such a time would arrive as well as he did, but 
then I expected it would be brought about by very dif- 
ferent means. He is extremely mild and instead of being 
offended by opposition or difference of opinion he is 
pleased with free discussion and even bears being laughed 
at, with great good nature. However eroneous and per- 
nicious his opinions may be, he,, himself, I think a truly 
benevolent and good man. This bright vision fills his 
mind, to the exclusion of common sense and universal 
experience, — he is an amiable mad-man. Yet such is his 
influence, that he has obtained from the Mexican Gov- 
ernment (from whence he has just returned) the grant 
of a province of very rich, beautiful and nearly uninhab- 
ited land, (part of Texas) where he means to establish 
his system, which is to serve as a model, for the rest of 
the world, and he calls it his model-government. His 
whole soul is filled with this scheme. It was really very 


interesting to hear him and I hope this letter will be 
interesting to you. 


Charlott's Ville, Saturday evening August 2d, 1828. 

. . . . We are at a spacious and elegant hotel, 
have a drawing-room on the second floor, with our bed- 
room opening from it and Mr. Smith's adjoining ours, 
for Anna lodges with me, the bed-rooms open on a piazza 
from which we see mountains rising all round us. The 
nearest is Monticello on the north-west, over there in the 
south-west rise the Alleghany, or Blue-ridge, reposing 
in their blue and misty grandeur on the horizon and look- 
ing like vast masses of clouds. From our drawing room 
windows, a beautiful country beyond the Court-House 
and some of the private dwellings of Charlottsville, with 
mountains in the distance. Dear Monticello! my chief 
inducement to take this long journey, was once more to 
visit its revered shades and to weep over the grave of one 
of the best and greatest of men and of a friend loved and 
venerated. Mr. Smith had business here. Mr. Mon- 
roe's vast landed estate in this neighborhood being made 
over to the Bank of the U. S. in payment of his debt to 
that institution, Mr. Biddle expressed a wish to Mr. 
Smith, that if such a journey should be agreeable to him, 
he should come in and superintend the sale, which is to 
take place on Monday. The Court is then to meet, and 
it is expected hundreds of people will then be here, as 
politics, law, justice and business of all kind are tran- 
sacted at Virginia Courts. As I had not been very well, 
he thought a journey and mountain air might be of use 
to me. As Anna had never been from home, excepting 
to Heywood, I chose her as my companion and fille de 


chambre and nurse, should any of my attacks of fever, 
render one necessary. To make the journey easy, we 
came in our own carriage and to vary the scene and 
avoid some very bad roads, we came as far as Fredericks- 
burg in the steam-boat, having the carriage on board. 
This place is 70 miles from Fredericksburg and by rising 
with the sun, we have performed the journey with great 
ease in two days, stopping to rest two hours at breakfast 
and 2 at dinner. From the Potomack, to this elevated 
spot, there is a continued rise, hill after hill. I do not 
believe in the whole distance we ever found 2 miles of 
level at a time — generally it was up one hill, down and 
up another. Some of them tremendously precipitous to 
such a rare traveller and great coward as myself. Yes- 
terday we passed by a turnpike, one end of a mountain, 
the assent was almost too much for my courage. Today 
I suffered but little from fear and when we past the ridge, 
it was through a gap along the banks of the Ravenna, a 
mountain river, rocky and enclosed in overhanging and 
picturesque banks. It was a kind of defile through which 
the road wound, high hills on each side, the sun hot and 
scarcely a breath of air. We suffered from the heat, but 
it enhanced our enjoyment on reaching this height and 
taking possession of our cool, airy apartment, together 
with the luxury of a bath. I felt so well and so happy, 
when after bathing and changing my dress, I seated my- 
self at the pleasant window that as usual I longed to par- 
ticipate with those I love, and as Anna wished to be the 
writer home, I determined to avail myself of the pro- 
pitious moment to write to you. Our supper table is set 
and Mr. Smith waits for me, so good night. I will only 
add, I had a short and pleasant interview with Jefferson 
Randolph as he was passing through this place, with his 
two daughters, the great grand children of Mr. Jefferson. 


Monday evening. Yesterday morning, we were in- 
formed Mr. Mead, 1 one of the best and most pious 
preachers in the Episcopalean Church, was in Charlotts- 
ville and would preach. We went to hear him and were 
both edified and gratified. There was a very large and 
respectable congregation. At least 20 private carriages 
were at the door, as many of the gentry from the country 
even from the other side of the mountain had assembled 
to hear this popular preacher. 

Mr. Hugh Nelson, late Minister to Spain, was one and 
many other of the most respectable men of the place were 
among the communicants. There were six tables. I 
have never before since I left your part of the world seen 
so many communicants. From this circumstance I 
should suppose much greater attention was paid to re- 
ligion, than I had been led to expect in Virginia. We 
had an excellent sermon and the whole service was solemn 
and affecting. In the afternoon, we went to the Uni- 
versity. It is about 1 1-4 miles from town. Never have 
I beheld a more imposing work of Art. On a command- 
ing height, surrounded by mountains, rises the Rotunda, 
or central building, forming one side of an oblong square, 
on two other sides running from north to south are the 
Pavillions, or Professor's houses, at about 60 or 70 feet 
apart, connected by terraces, beneath which are the dor- 
mitories, or lodging sleeping rooms of the students. The 
terrace projects about 8 feet beyond the rooms and is sup- 
ported on brick arches, forming beneath the arches a 
paved walk, sheltered from the heat of summer and the 
storms of winter. A vast wide lawn separates the two 
rows of pavillions and dormitories. The south end is 
at present open and standing there gives a noble and 

1 This was the famous William Meade, afterwards Episcopal Bishop of 
Virginia, the author of "Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia," 
the greatest storehouse of local Virginia history in existence. 


magnificent view of the buildings. There are 12 Pa- 
villions, each one exhibiting the different orders of archi- 
tecture and built after classic models, generally Grecian. 
The rotunda is in form and proportioned like the Pan- 
theon at Rome. It has a noble portico, — the pillars, 
cornice, &c of the Corinthian. We went to the house 
of Professor Lomax, who is a near relation of William 
Washington, and were most kindly and hospitably re- 
ceived. He has a very large family, wife and daughters 
friendly and agreeable. We sat in the Portico of his 
Pavillion and feasted our eyes on the beauties of the sur- 
rounding scenery, then walked through the buildings, 
visited the Rotunda and the library, a magnificent apart- 
ment, larger and more beautiful than the library in the 
Capitol, but I cannot go into details. The whole im- 
pression on my mind was delightful, elevating, for the 
objects both of nature and art by which I was sur- 
rounded, are equally sublime and beautiful. We re- 
turned to our Hotel by sunset and soon after Mr. Nelson 
and one or two other gentlemen and a lady whom we 
knew called and passed the evening with us. We prom- 
ised this amiable family to return and take a more minute 
survey this morning. They asked us to dine, but Mr. 
Smith's business did not permit our accepting the invita- 
tion. We promised to be there by 9 o'clock, but before 
that hour young Mr. Lomax was here to accompany us. 
He returned with us and has just gone, not having left 
Anna Maria's side ten minutes at a time. I have been 
joking her on her attractions. • The whole family re- 
ceived us like old friends and near relations. Professor 
Lomax is a charming man, in every respect, looks, voice, 
manners, so like Mr. Wirt that he might be mistaken 
for him. He and I sat in the Library looking over books 
and conversing on literary subjects for more than two 

i8 2 8] VISIT FROM MR. RIVES 227 

hours, while the young people were roaming about and 
climbing to the dome or roof of the Rotunda. I have 
seldom passed two hours more agreeably. I felt sorry 
Mr. Smith could not participate in my pleasure, but busi- 
ness detained him in the Town. A violent shower pre- 
vented our going up one of the adjoining mountains on 
the top of which the observatory is built. Anna Maria 
was positively enchanted and I could scarcely get her 
away. When we returned to our Hotel we found the 
space between it and the Court-House filled with hun- 
dreds of people and amused ourselves the rest of the day 
in watching the various and curious groups and hearing 
the various cries, for the Court is likewise a kind of fair 
and sales of various kinds going on, while that of Jus- 
tice was going on within the Court House. In the after- 
noon Professor Lomax, came to see us, soon afterwards 
Mr. Rives, 1 member of Congress and several other per- 
sons called on us and agreeable conversation passed away 
the time. Mr. Rives insisted on our calling at his house 
and we have promised to pass tomorrow night. We 
shall go in the morning to Monticello, and from there in 
the afternoon to Mr. Rives', which is 14 miles further on 
and the next day to Mr. Madison's. 

Thus far, my excursion has been far pleasanter than 
I expected. I have seen more persons and the scenery 
has been more beautiful than I anticipated. This hasty 
sketch will give you a very imperfect idea of the pleasure 
I have enjoyed. An hour ago, we had one, which it 
would require a whole sheet to describe. We heard a 
pleasing voice, delivering what we thought an animated 
oration on the pavement before the house. On looking 
out of the window we discovered it to be Phillip Bar- 

1 William Cabell Rives, of Castle Hill, statesman, diplomatist and author 
of a mighty fragment in three large volumes, of a " Life of James Madison," 
covering only part of his career. 


bour, 1 the member of Congress. He was sitting on the 
pavement surrounded by a dozen or twenty gentlemen 
and more, whom he was entertaining with a history of 
events, debates and scenes which took place in Congress- 
Hall. Roars of laughter followed some of his stories 
and attention waited on all. I mean to commit one or 
two of his anecdotes to paper. They were original and 

It is now late, and I conclude my letter with my visit 
to Charlottsville and shall when I return home, write to 
you again and give you an account of the rest of my ad- 
ventures. Last summer you and sister sent me sketches 
of your excursions and I now unexpectedly have an op- 
portunity of returning the compliment. But good night 
my dear sisters. 


Sidney, Aug. 12, 1828. 
. . . . Before this I presume you have received 
my hastily scribbled letter from Charlottsville. I am al- 
most sorry that I wrote so carelessly under the excitement 
of feeling, my little journal would have been better had 
it been quietly and more carefully written at home. It 
proved at least that the idea of my dear sisters is ever 
present and enhances what pleasures fall to my lot. I 
entirely forget where I left off, but if not mistaken it 
was after I had been at the University of Virginia, one 
of the finest specimens of art and the most magnificent 
institutions I have ever seen. It has a most imposing 
effect. In a city, or land cultivated country it would not 
be so impressive. But on a landscape so rich, varied and 

1 Philip Pendleton Barbour, brother of James Barbour, Mrs. Smith's 
friend. He was afterwards Judge of the Supreme Court. He lived at 
" Frascati," about fifteen miles from Charlottesville. 


beautiful, so remote from any city, there was something 
novel as well as grand in its locality, that certainly had a 
strong effect on the imagination. Were I a young man 
and a student there, methinks the place alone would 
purify and elevate my mind. The discipline of the Insti- 
tution has been greatly improved, and Mr. Madison, 
who is no visionary or enthusiast, says he does not be- 
lieve more orderly habits or purer morals are to be 
found in any other college in the U. S. Some years 
ago, when some riot broke out among the students, 
originating in a mere frolic, in which the faculty inter- 
fered and were resisted, they had to call together the 
Rector, (then Mr. J.) and some of the nearest visitors 
or Trustees. The students previous to their arrival had 
determined not to yield, or give up each others names, 
but if it became the alternative, to submit to expul- 
sion in a body. Mr. Jefferson and several of the vis- 
itors assembled. The students called before them, stood 
erect, and looked defiance. There was a silence and 
pause of expectation, waiting Mr. J.'s rising. He sat 
amidst them with his bent form and grey hairs, like a 
Father amidst his children. He looked upon them with 
the tenderness of a father and it required an evident 
struggle to repress his emotions. At last he arose, his 
lips moved, he essayed to speak, — burst into tears and 
sank back into his seat. The shock was electric. The 
proud spirit of youth yielded to the tenderness of youth 
and one and all submitted, acknowledged their faults, 
and without the least equivocation answered all the in- 
ter rogotories put to them. To be sure Chapman John- 
son, finding Mr. J. could not speak, arose and addressed 
them, but as one of the young men told me, it was not 
his words, but Mr. Jefferson's tears that melted their 
stubborn purpose. If I recollect aright, 20 or more were 


expelled, the discipline, reformed, since which time no 
disorder, no rebellion of any kind has occurred. The 
Episcopalian and Presbyterian Ministers alternately 
preach at the University on Sabbath afternoons, and the 
students are allowed to attend in the mornings any of the 
churches in town their conscience or inclination lead 
them to. After passing 21-2 pleasant days at Char- 
lottsville we set off on Tuesday for Monticello. I can- 
not stop to describe the windings of the road among the 
mountain scenery. Near the summit, a little off the 
road, we got out of the carriage to visit the grave of 
Jefferson. A rude stone wall encloses a small square, 
left in a state of nature, full of forest trees and rocks 
and wild plants, amidst which is Mr. J.'s grave between 
that of his wife and daughter. ' Were I to describe all 
the feelings which swelled my bosom while standing by 
the side of that lonely and lowly grave in the solitude 
of the mountains, or the reflections on human life and 
human greatness, which rushed on my mind, I should 
leave no space to say anything of the interesting family 
this great man has left behind him — left poor and af- 
flicted. I will, then, restrain my pen and carry you with 
me to the summit of the mountain, on which his now 
desolate mansion stands. How different did it seem 
from what it did 18 years ago! No kind friend with 
his gracious countenance stood in the Portico to welcome 
us, no train of domestics hastened with smiling alacrity 
to show us forward. All was silent. Ruin has already 
commenced its ravages — the inclosures, the terraces, the 
outer houses. But we drove to the door, ascended the 
steps, knocked, and after a while a little negro girl poorly 
dressed open'd those once wide portals. We entered the 
hall once filled with busts and statues and natural curi- 
osities to crowding, now empty! Bare walls and de- 


faced floor, from thence into the drawing room, once so 
gay and splendid, where walls were literally covered with 
pictures like the Hall, — bare and comfortless. The fur- 
niture pictures, statues, servants, all gone, sold, yes sold ! 
not descended to the survivors. But Mrs. Randolph 
came, came with open arms and an affectionate counte- 
nance and seemed like the spirit of the place, that had 
survived its body. Yet no, the Master spirit, the ani- 
mating spirit was gone. And yet it was not gone, but 
seemed to be invisibly hovering near. Yes, I felt, tho' I 
could not see its presence. After a few moments emotion, 
conversation took place. Mrs. R. called her children, 
now women and her grand children, the size and age of 
what the others had been when I last saw them. Scarcely 
chairs to sit on ! "You will excuse all that is wanting," 
said she. "You know all that has passed." What a 
sweetness, dignity, resignation, — nay cheerfulness. And 
such a reserve ! But her soul is superior to the accidents 
and incidents of fortune. It is only where these changes 
touch her heart, she feels their pressure. The family 
dependent on her, consists of 4 daughters, all women, 4 
sons, the youngest 12 yrs old, '4 grand-children, the hus- 
band of he*r eldest daughter Mr. Trist, and old Mrs. 
Trist his grand mother, in her dotage, with no home but 
what Mrs. R. can give her. Mr. Triste 1 is very young 
and not yet in business. Her youngest son she has left 
at Cambridge. Her eldest is married; has 7 daughters, 
and lives on his father's farm which he has purchased. 
Mrs. R. and I rambled alone to a distant part of the 
grounds. How affecting was her conversation! the de- 
tails of the last few years. "Oh, Mrs. Smith," said she, 
speaking of her eldest son, "Jefferson is my treasure! 

1 Nicholas P. Trist, afterwards Assistant Secretary of State and a dis- 
tinguished diplomatist. 


Never was there such a son, he is my support, — nay he 
is the father of us all, he was the joy and support of his 
grand father's declining years and the comforter and 
consolation of his father's dying hour!" He does in- 
deed appear to be a most exemplary man and is very 
interesting in his looks. I enquired into her future plans,, 
they were not yet fixed. In a few weeks she must leave 
this dear and sacred spot for in a few weeks Monticello 
must be sold. She still vacillates between Philadelphia 
and Washington as her future place of residence. She 
will chose that which she thinks will be most advan- 
tageous to her children. Mr. Trist has studied law and 
intends practicing it. One of her boys is on a farm 
with his eldest brother. Should she come to Washing- 
ton, what a precious and interesting addition will she 
and her family be to our little circle of friends. It will 
be an important event to me. Next to my sisters, I know 
not the woman I could so entirely esteem or so tenderly 
love. She unites a strong and highly cultivated intellect, 
with a soft, tender heart and a frank, communicative 
disposition. Oh, I earnestly hope she may determine 
on Washington! 


[Sidney,] Monday, 17th August. 

Several days have elapsed, since I began this letter. 
A little fatigue and over excitement brought on an attack 
of fever. I am now quite well and resume my journal. 
With a new sheet I will commence a new subject, one 
the reverse of the one I wrote of on the last page. 

We left Monticello. We walked from the very top to 
the bottom of the mountain, between 2 and 3 miles. 


The road was so rugged and broken, that the carriage 
passed it with difficulty. We travelled about thirty 
miles, generally through woods and up and down steep 
hills. Mr. Smith told us very seriously, that he begged 
we would not be prevailed on to stay beyond a few hours 
at Mr. Madison's, as his business required his immediate 
return. Anna and I felt very sorry, but of course deter- 
mined to be governed by his wishes, — however we did not 
the less heartily wish that rain or some other incident 
might occur to detain us at Montpelier. After break- 
fast, the next morning, we resumed our journey and 
after having lost ourselves in the mountain road which 
leads thro' a wild woody track of ground and wandering 
for some time in Mr. Madison's domain, which seemed 
to us interminable, we at last reached his hospitable man- 
sion. We had scarcely entered on his estate, before our 
wishes were granted and it began to rain, at which Anna 
and I rejoiced, and I do not believe Mr. S. was sorry. 
We drove to the door. Mr. M. met us in the Portico 
and gave us a cordial welcome. In the Hall Mrs. Madi- 
son received me with open arms and that overflowing 
kindness and affection which seems a part of her nature. 
We were at first conducted into the Drawing room, which 
opens on the back Portico and thus commands a view 
through the whole house, which is surrounded with an 
extensive lawn, as green as in spring; the lawn is en- 
closed with fine trees, chiefly forest, but interspersed 
with weeping willows and other ornamental trees, all of 
most luxuriant growth and vivid verdure. It was a 
beautiful scene! The drawing-room walls are covered 
with pictures, some very fine, from the ancient masters, 
but most of them portraits of our most distinguished 
men, six or eight by Stewart. The mantlepiece, tables 
in each corner and in fact wherever one could be fixed, 


were rilled with busts, and groups of figures in plaster, 
so that this apartment had more the appearance of a 
museum of the arts than of a drawing room. It was 
a charming room, giving activity to the mind, by the 
historic and classic ideas that it awakened. 

After the first salutations were passed, Mrs. M. in- 
vited us to a chamber, where we might make ourselves 
comfortable, as she said. She led the way to an elegant 
little chamber, on the same floor and adjoining her own, 
furnished with crimson damask and looking out on the 
beautiful lawn. She sent a maid to attend us and said 
she would return by the time we had exchanged our 
damp clothes. This we soon did and she then carried 
us in to her own chamber. It was very large and com- 
modious and furnished with every convenience and much 
elegance. Before a large sopha, lay her work. Couches, 
easy-chairs &c invited us to ease and comfortable indul- 
gence. I told her I had no notion of playing lady visitor 
all day and sitting prim in the drawing room with our 
hands before us and if she would resume her seat and 
her work, we would sit with her and work too. It was 
so agreed. She drew Anna on the sopha beside her and 
gave her half a dozen pretty books to look over, while 
drawing a french arm chair, or fauteuil (what charming 
things they are !) close by her, I reclined at my ease, while 
we talked, — and oh how we did talk. We went over the 
last 20 years and talked of scenes long past and of per- 
sons far away or dead. These reminisences were delight- 
ful. She certainly has always been, and still is one of 
the happiest of human beings. Like myself, she seems 
to have no place about her which could afford a lodge- 
ment for care or trouble. Time seems to favour her as 
much as fortune. She looks young and she says she 
feels so. I can believe her, nor do I think she will ever 

James Madison. 

From a picture by Gilbert Stuart in the possession of 
T. Jefferson Coolidge. 


look or feel like an old woman. They are seldom alone, 
but have a succession of visitors, among whom are a 
great many foreigners. Few visit our country without 
visiting Monticello and Montpelier. She gave me an 
entertaining account of the visit of the three members of 
parliament, who passed several days with them. I could 
scarcely credit my senses, when dinner was announced 
and I found it to be four oclock! So rapidly had the 
morning passed away. We did not rise from table until 
six oclock. Mr. Madison was chief speaker, and his 
conversation was a stream of history, and continued so 
until ten oclock, when we separated for the night, so 
rich in sentiments and facts, so enlivened by anecdotes 
and epigramatic remarks, so frank and confidential as 
to opinions on men and measures, that it had an interest 
and charm, which the conversation of few men now liv- 
ing, could have. He spoke of scenes in which he him- 
self had acted a conspicuous part and of great men, who 
had been actors in the same theatre. No common-places. 
Every sentence he spoke, was worthy of being written 
down. The formation and adoption of the Constitution. 
The Convention and first congress, the characters of 
their members and the secret debates. Franklin, Wash- 
ington, Hamilton, John Adams, Jefferson, Jay, Patrick 
Henry and a host of other great men were spoken of 
and characteristic anecdotes of all related. It was living 
History! When I retired for the night, I felt as if my 
mind was full to over-flowing, as if it could not contain 
all the new ideas it had received, as if I had feasted to 
satiety. And this entertaining, interesting and commu- 
nicative personage, had a single stranger or indifferent 
person been present, would have been mute, cold and 
repulsive. After dinner, we all walked in the Portico, 
(or piazza, which is 60 feet long, supported on six lofty 


pillars) 1 until twilight, then retreated to the drawing 
room, where we sat in a little group close together and 
took our coffee while we talked. Some of Mr. M.'s 
anecdotes were very droll, and we often laughed very 
heartily. I wish my letter was large enough to contain 
a few of them, which I am sure would make you laugh 
too. He retains all the sportiveness of his character, 
which he used to reveal now and then to those whom 
he knew intimately, and Mrs. M. says he is as fond 
of a frolic and of romping with the girls as ever. His 
little blue eyes sparkled like stars from under his bushy 
grey eye-brows and amidst the deep wrinkles of his poor 
thin face. Nor have they lost their look of mischief, 
that used to lurk in their corners, and which vanished and 
gave place to an expression ever solemn, when the con- 
versation took a serious turn. 

In the course of the evening, at my request Mrs. M. 
took me to see old Mrs. Madison. 2 She lacks but 3 
years of being a hundred years old. When I enquired 
of her how she was, "I have been a blest woman," she 
replied, "blest all my life, and blest in this my old age. 
I have no sickness, no pain; excepting my hearing, my 
senses are but little impaired. I pass my time in reading 
and knitting." Something being said of the infirmities 
of old age. "You," said she, looking at Mrs. M., "you 
are my mother now, and take care of me in my old age." 
I felt much affected by the sight of this venerable woman. 
Her face is not as much wrinkled as her son's who is only 
yy years old. Mr. and Mrs. Madison urged our passing 

^he original house at Montpelier was built between 1756 and 1760 by 
Madison's father and was a plain, rectangular brick edifice of four rooms. 
It was enlarged at different times and various improvements made, the most 
important being in 1809 by Dr. Thornton. Latrobe also lent assistance 
in adding the wings. The house was one of flawless taste architecturally 
when Mrs. Smith paid her visit. 

2 She lived in a wing of the Montpelier house where she had a separate 
establishment from her son. She died in 1829, aged 99 years. 


several days with them, and on our declining told us we 
must come soon again and stay longer. Anna Maria 
was highly gratified and delighted and says if she lives 
to be as old as the venerable mother, she will never lose 
the impression this visit has made on her mind. She 
listened to the conversation with the greatest interest and 
was charmed with Mrs. M.'s affable affectionate manner. 
Mrs. M. called her nothing but "my little girl" and talked 
a good deal to her. One time on the portico, she took 
Anna by the hand, saying, "come, let us run a race. I 
do not believe you can out run me. Madison and I often 
run races here, when the weather does not allow us to 
walk." And she really did run very briskly, — it was 
more than I could do, had I attempted it, which I did not, 
however, as I preferred listening to the gentlemen's con- 
versation. We parted with them the next morning after 
lingering until a late hour over the breakfast-table. The 
rest of our journey, 50 miles by land and 70 by water, 
was quiet, commonplace, every day pleasure, which it is 
not worth detailing. We reached home on Saturday 
after 10 days absence. Eleven days of agreeable travel- 
ling, during which we had seen three grand and interest- 
ing objects, the University, Monticello and Montpelier. 
Anna says it will be an epoch in her life, to which she 
shall always recur with the most pleasurable feelings. 
I paid the penalty I always pay, for a deeply excited in- 
terest or very lively emotion, — a fever. It confined me 
three days to my bed, but when the pain was subdued, 
I found pleasure in my confinement to a bed surrounded 
by my dear attentive children. . . . Farewell. 



Washington, Nov. ai, 1828. 
.... Two weeks have passed since we located 
ourselves in our new habitation. 1 Never in my life have 
I been so comfortably and agreeably fixed. My wishes 
are completely satisfied. Our house, a delightful one, in 
the best part of the city, surrounded with good neigh- 
bors, good churches and good pavements which enable 
us to visit both neighbors and churches in all weather. 
You will recollect the situation of the Department of 
State &c — it is opposite to this. A broad pavement leads 
one way to Capitol Hill and another to George-Town, 
besides cross paved ways in every direction. We could 
keep up a very social intercourse now, without a carriage, 
but this, tho' not a necessity is a very agreeable con- 
venience and will add greatly to our pleasure. Mrs. 
Clay, Mrs. Southard, Mrs. Lovel, Mrs. Cutts, Mrs. 
Newal, Mrs. Cashier Smith, (cashier for Bank) Mrs. 
Barret, Mrs. Lawyer Jones, Mrs. Genl. McComb, Mrs. 
Johnson, Mrs. Andrew Smith, (formerly Miss Graham) 
Mrs. Rush, Mrs. Wirt, Mrs. Thornton, are our neigh- 
bors, viz is within two squares; the most distant is not 
more, and many are on the same square and some within 
a few doors. Excepting Mrs. Barret, (who we are told 
is a charming woman and our nearest neighbor) all are 
old and familiar acquaintances some of them my most 
intimate. Mrs. Genl. Porter, Mrs. Seaton, Miss Vale 
and several other old and agreeable acquaintances tho' 
farther off, are still within walking distance. These I 
have named and twenty others have already been to see 

x The new house occupied the square between Pennsylvania Avenue, 
15th Street and H Street, and faced on 15th Street, opposite what is now 
the Barton Hotel. 


us. Some of them have been three or four times, setting 
an example of the sociability to which they invite us. 
Having so totally given up society, I had no idea that 
the persons whom I had for so many years declined visit- 
ing would have come to see us, and expected to have had 
(what I really wish for) a very small circle, at the largest 
not exceeding a dozen families. But this part of my plan 
I must relinquish, unless I wish to give offence. At least 
30 families have already visited us and I am over head 
and ears in debt. Yet I hope to limit habits of intimacy 
and not allow my time to be wholly taken up by society. 
If it depends on me, a very few, very few, will be on 
the list of intimates, but among them shall be sweet Mrs. 
Wirt and her lovely daughters. Instead of a formal 
morning call, she and the girls came in the afternoon and 
urged us to follow their example. Mrs. W. and her two 
eldest daughters, Elizabeth and Catherine, last winter 
joined the church, and tho' they participate in the general 
amusements of society it is with that moderation, which 
fulfils the precept of St. Paul, to use the world, but not 
abuse it. She is however a domestic woman, visiting 
as little as her situation will allow. The whole family 
are refined and intellectual and derive their chief amuse- 
ments from books, music and conversation. Catherine 
is in such delicate health, that she is never to go out of 
an evening. She is one of the loveliest and most interest- 
ing creatures I have ever met with, and so tender, so 
carressing, so delicate and soft in her manners. But 
more of her another time. Mr. Wirt has taken two pews 
in the church in which we have taken ours and for the 
same reason, Mr. Campbel's being the pastor. 1 It was 
under his ministry that the girls made an open profession 

1 John Nicholas Campbell, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian 


of religion. He had a bible class they diligently at- 
tended. He is a great favorite and friend of the family 
and this summer has been traveling with Mr. Wirt and 
his daughters. I am not personally acquainted with him, 
but am prepared to admire and reverence him, altho' a 
very young man. As Mrs. W.'s is the family I feel 
more desirous of intimacy with, both on my own and my 
girls account, I have said more of them than any other 
and hope during the winter to have much more to say. 
Since my arrival in the city, most fervently have I 
wished Mr. Adams would remain in office. The prompt 
kindness and friendly attentions showed us by many of 
those whose continuance depends on Mr. Adams induces 
this wish. But the question is otherwise decided and 
notwithstanding Mr. Smith's political satisfaction I feel 
great personal regret. I shall lose not only agreeable 
acquaintance but a tried friend, for such has Mrs. Clay 
been, and of late Mrs. Southard and the Judge have been 
to us like near relatives. But above all shall I regret the 
loss of the Wirt family. The mother and father all I 
wished as friends for myself, and the daughters the 
very characters I would have chosen among thousands 
for my daughters friends, and they showing as they 
have done, similar desires of intimacy with us. Oh 
that Genl. Jackson may leave the Attorney General 
with us, whatever other changes he makes. Mrs. 
Johnson 1 of Louisianna, is Ann's favorite. She is 
not only the fashion but the Ton, yet admiring and 
admired as she is, and the gayest among the gay, she has 
a simplicity and frankness and kind heartedness about 
her, that is very attractive, and there is no one Ann likes 
as well. She buys every new book and they are all at 
our service. She sent me a dozen the other day. As 

1 Wife of Josiah S. Johnston, Senator from Louisiana. 


for Books, we shall be at no loss. The library of the 
Dept. of State, is close to us, and the city library and I 
count on access to the Congress Library as in times of 
old, when as Mary Ann may recollect I used to have 
members names signed on blanks for me to fill out at 
my pleasure. The only difficulty will be to find time to 
read. I will tell you our plan of living — our parlours 
open into each other with folding doors — fire in both 
is made before breakfast. After breakfast I come into 
the front parlour, a table with my india writing and 
work-box is on it, and books and paint-box &c, stands in 
the middle of the room, always ready for me to write, 
read or sew. The breakfast things are directly removed 
to the kitchen, which is light, nice and comfortable, where 
the house keeper goes to attend to her duties, the other 
girls sit in the dining-room, at their work or reading until 
one oclock. Then we visit, and walk if the weather is 
good, or receive visitors, or join our circles and while one 
reads aloud the other works. Excepting three rainy 
days, we have not been alone a single day, having a re- 
ception of visitors from one oclock until bed-time. After 
tea, Mr. Smith sits alone in the dining room until 9 and 
then joins us, when Ann, myself, or some of our guests 
play chess with him, unless prevented by the pleasures 
of conversation. We are engaged in reading aloud, the 
Lady of the Manor and Mrs. Hemer's dramatic pieces. 
Each of us have different books of a more instructive cast 
for our individual study. Until one oclock we do not 
visit and hope to be able not to receive visitors. Sunday 
is a delightful day to us all, especially the servants. My 
arrangements are such, that only one of the women re- 
mains at home and that, only till dinner is over, the other 
woman and William, Lawrence and Mary Ann go to 
Sunday school and then three times to church. The girls 


have already commenced their Sunday school labours. 
We have to rise very early, but so much the better. Mr. 
Gallaudet (you must I think remember the old gentleman 
when we lived in Phila) is to be their constant Sunday 
beau, to take his tea here and then accompany them to 

This is the second day it has rained without interrup- 
tion, to me it is pleasant weather and I enjoy the unin- 
terrupted quiet it affords us. After finishing this letter 
I shall sit down and read the American Review some 
articles of which require close attention. We made two 
new acquaintances this week, Mr. Burrel Randolph, 
(brother of Beverly) and Mr. Triste, a young gentleman 
married to a grand-daughter of Mr. Jefferson's just from 
Monticello. Mr. Clay has given him an appointm of 14 
hundred a year. He brought me an interesting letter 
from Mrs. Randolph, who from motives of economy will 
not remove to this place until next autumn. I wish I 
had had a letter of yours to answer and mine should 
not then have been so full of egotism. Let me intreat 
you to write soon to your affectionate sister. 


[Washington,] Sunday evening, Novr 23, 1828. 
. . . . Mr. Triste is a very interesting man and 
when he conversed of Mr. Jefferson I listened to him with 
delight. He drew me a plan, designed by Mr. J. for the 
family grave yard and speaking of his grave, asked me 
if I had observed a venerable oak tree which shaded it. 
"Beneath that tree," said he, "Mr. Jefferson when a 
young man was accustomed to sit and muse, and when 
he and Dabney Carr, his early and bosom friend, rested 


from their rambles it was at the foot of this tree. Here 
he enjoyed these outpourings of the soul, that perfect 
sympathy, which a friendship so fond and true only 
could afford. On one occasion they mutually promised 
each other that who ever died first should be buried 
under this tree and that the surviver when his turn came 
should lie by the side of his friend. Mr. Carr died at 
a distance from Monticello, while Mr. J. was absent, I 
believe in Europe. On his return he had his friend's 
body taken up and brought to the appointed spot. Mr. 
J.'s wife was laid near; a place between his friend and 
wife was reserved for himself, and there he now rests 
beneath his favorite oak." I wish my letter would admit 
of my giving you other interesting details, but it does 
not. Tuesday it snow'd, and falling weather continued 
until Thursday afternoon, when the sun shone forth 
brightly, previous to setting. We took advantage of the 
fine weather next day to pay a great many visits. We 
were all out and I did not expect to find any body at 
home. Mrs. Rush was, and her room was so comfort- 
able and charming and she was so agreeable that I paid 
a most unfashionable visit. After dinner Ann and I 
went out again. We meant only to make calls, but 
they turned into social and pleasant visits. First at Mrs. 
Southard's. She told us Judge Southard had just gone 
to see us. We staid to tea and soon afterwards he came 
in and said he had taken his tea with Mr. Smith and the 
girls. He talked very frankly of his removal next March 
and his future plans and from this subject we reverted 
to inaugurations of all the Presidents and their attendant 
circumstances and went, that is I went, into a history of 
Washington from the time the government first came. 
Some of our recitations were quite amusing and when 
I rose to depart, Judge S. said, I had better sit still and 


talk over old times. We wished however to pay an 
evening social visit to Mrs. Wirt. We were ushered 
into a very large and elegant drawing room, in the middle 
was a round table, cover'd with books, engravings, work- 
boxes &c &c lit by a splendid lamp. Round the table 
was seated the young ladies and 2 young gentlemen. A 
rousing hickory fire blazed in the chimney and diffused 
warmth and cheerfulness through the room. On one 
side of the fire Mrs. Wirt, with a small table and candles 
by her, sat reading. I have never seen such a union of 
comfort and elegance, I might say splendor. Ann joined 
the young people at the table and I sat on the sopha by 
Mrs. Wirt. Coffee was immediately brought in and 
afterwards dried fruits. But the best part of the enter- 
tainment was intellectual. The girls brought me their 
albums to look over, full of beautiful paintings, and 
original poetry — they were quite a treat. Mr. Wirt and 
Mr. King soon joined us and the conversation was so 
agreeable, that fond as I am of music I regretted the in- 
terruption it gave to conversation. Catherine played on 
the harp and sung to it some sweet songs ; afterwards she 
accompanied Elizabeth on the piano, with her harp in 
some very fine pieces. Mr. Wirt listening in apparent 
rapture and requiring the harp to be tuned and retuned, 
till as he said it was within "half a hair's breadth" the 
same tone as the piano. At last the piece concluded and 
we bade this charming family good night and found to 
our astonishment when we reached home that it was 
near 11 o'clock. 

The domestic habits, style of living, and character of 
this family, come nearer to my beau-ideal, than that of 
any other I know. I have endeavored to describe it, in 
my Seymour Family; for you know Mr. Wirt was the 
model of my Mr. Seymour. 



[Washington,] Sunday evening, 30 Nov. 1828. 
. . . . I told Genl. P. 1 I was a self constituted 
delegate from the young ladies of Washington, to beg he 
would use his authority and forbid the ferocious Wine- 
bagos from assaulting the girls in the manner they did. 
They have run after several young ladies and others they 
have caught in their arms and kissed, till decent young 
women are nearly afraid to walk out. He promised he 
would attend to my request and have such improper lib- 
erties repressed. While discussing this subject, Gov- 
ernor Cass 2 came in, and Mrs. Porter told him the com- 
plaints I had brought against his Indians. He would not 
allow they could be justly censured and vindicated them 
with great warmth. However, next day he went to 
their lodgings, enquired into the business and gave strict 
orders to have them properly watched. You have no 
idea, what a general dread they inspired. On Tuesday 
Mary Miller and Caroline Breckenridge came to dinner, 
and in the afternoon Virginia Southard, Esther Smith, 
our neighbor, The Seatons were asked but did not come. 
I sent for James Doughty Mr. Ellison, Dawes Elliot and 
Edward Cranch wishing to introduce our friends to 
Mary Miller. These were the young folks, Mrs. Clay 
and Mrs. Southard, Mr. Claibourn 3 and Governr Cass 
the • old folks. I expected Mrs. Bomford and Mrs. 
Thornton and Mrs. Johnson and their husbands. The 
gentlemen of the Cabinet who were to come received a 
summons to attend the President at his dinner, on busi- 
ness and could not get away until 9, when they adjourned 

1 Peter B. Porter, of New York, Secretary of War, a distinguished officer 
in the War of 1812. 

2 Louis Cass was then Governor of Michigan Territory. 

3 Nathaniel H. Claiborne, Representative from Virginia. 


to Mrs. Johnson's where they had been previously en- 
gaged to supper. I introduced all your young friends 
to Mary, Dawes Elliot, seemed to be very much pleased 
and conversed almost the whole evening with her. Mrs. 
Southard asked all the ladies present to spend the next 
evening with her, and never did I spend a merrier eve- 
ning. As Mrs. Seaton said, she heard there was no one 
there above 15 years old. We certainly all acted like 
girls, excepting myself. I did not dance, but played 
chess, tho' not with much gravity I must confess. Per- 
ceiving Mary M. did not enjoy the dancing, I asked her 
to play. Mr. Shaler, our Consul at Algiers and an old 
acquaintance of mine, sat near and alternately helped us. 
Afterwards I played with him and then with Dr. Lovel. 
But there was such a laughing and talking around me, 
I could not help joining in the mirth, losing my game. 
The girls had no beaux and in order to set them a danc- 
ing, Mrs. Clay, Mrs. Johnson, Lovel, Jessup and others 
danced with them and were as merry as a parcel of girls. 
Mr. Clay, had been dining out, and did not come in 
until 9, but in such spirits, that he added to those of the 
company. I never saw him so gay and agreeable. In- 
deed all the defeated party, appear as if they had thrown 
down heavy burdens and felt light of heart. Mr. Adams 
has rented Commodore Porter's house for Mrs. Adams, 
whose health will not allow of her residing in Boston, 
and many people think he will likewise remain here, as 
his rupture with his old friends and party, will make 
Boston a very unpleasant home for him. Mr. Wirt, it 
is said, will settle in Baltimore and the other gentlemen 
return to their respective homes. 

On Wednesday we passed the morning in visiting and 
paid off some of our debts, but on our return found we 
had incumbered new ones. This morning visiting breaks 

i8 2 8i WINTER GAIETIES 247 

up all my sober plans. I will struggle hard to have 
more time to myself, for the girls and myself are already 
wearied of so much going out. Wednesday evening we 
had to ourselves and passed it in work and reading. 
Thursday, Julia Seaton spent the day here and in the 
afternoon Col. and Mrs. Bomford came and staid until 
11 oclock. Mr. and Mrs. Seaton called on their return 
from the President's where they had taken tea and passed 
the early part of the evening. Friday, a delightful rainy 
day, we passed in reading and work. Saturday went to 
see the Indian Dance, in the afternoon to see Mrs. Clifton 
and in the evening at home. Mr. Triste came in to tea 
and sat until near ten with us. We have had a great 
deal of morning company which has lengthened our list 
of acquaintances far beyond my wish. Govr Cass is the 
most agreeable new acquaintance I have formed. He is 
very frank and communicative and his conversation in- 

Tomorrow Congress opens. I expect and hope we 
will have a quiet, tranquil winter. Our city is rapidly 
filling, not only with members but with strangers. In 
my next, I shall, I suppose have something more in- 
teresting to say. 

It is with difficulty I have written thus far. John 

Scott (his first visit) and William Bryan and the 

were talking all around me and I scarcely know what 
I have written. -I shall watch anxiously for your next 
letter. If you are well, write immediately on receipt 
of this, which I suppose will be Wednesday evening and 
if you write on Thursday I shall get your letter on Sat- 
urday. The girls join me in affectionate remembrances. 
Tell me whether you see Mary Miller and what she tells 
you about Washington, how she likes us, &c &c. Good 
night dearest Bayard. 



[Washington,] Deer. (20, I believe) 1828. 
. . . . You ask how the administration folks look 
since their defeat. They all with one consent, do what 
I think dignity and self respect requires, — appear cheer- 
ful and good humoured, mix freely and frankly with the 
triumphant party and in Congress all is harmony I am 
told. Mr. and Mrs. Adams have gone a little too far in 
this assumed gaiety at the last drawing room they laid 
aside the manners which until now they have always 
worn and came out in a brilliant masquerade dress of 
social, gay, frank, cordial manners. What a change 
from the silent, repulsive, haughty reserve by which 
they have hitherto been distinguished. The great audi- 
ence chamber, never before opened, and now not finished 
was thrown open for dancing, a thing unheard of before 
at a drawing-room ! The band of musick increased the 
hilarity of the scene. All the folks attached to the ad- 
ministration made a point of being there. The ladies 
of the Cabinet in their best bibs and tuckers. Most of 
them in new dresses just arrived from Paris. Every 
thing in fact was done to conceal the natural feelings 
excited by disappointment and to assume the appearance 
not only of indifference, but of satisfaction. As one of 
the opposition members observed, "The Administration 
mean to march out with flying colours and all the honors 
of war." Well, I think I would do so too, only not 
carry it so far as to betray affectation. In private and 
social intercourse, among themselves, where no false 
assumption is necessary, I have, I must say, seen the 
same good humour. They treat their defeat as one of 
the chances of war, which happen to the most brave and 

John Quincy Adams. 

From the portrait by Jean Baptiste Adolphe Gibert. In the State 
Department, Washington. 

i8 2 8j MRS. PORTER 249 

skilful, as well as the weak and ignorant. We have been 
asked in a social way to all our neighbors. Mrs. Clay, 
Mrs. Southard, Mrs. Wirt, Cutts, Porter, &c, where we 
met the same folks and without a single exception all 
seemed in a good humour. Mr. Clay seems in better 
health and spirits than he has been for many months. 
Genl. Porter is in fine spirits, as well as his charming 
wife and seems determined to keep open house and ex- 
tend his hospitality equally to both parties. We were 
at a crowded party there this day week, asked to meet a 
few friends, and found at least 200. This morning I 
have received another invitation for this evening, — when 
from what I hear there may be five hundred, so none of 
us wish to go. Last week we had invitations to 4 
parties, but I went only to Mrs. Porter's and this week 
shall confine ourselves to Mrs. Clay's drawing room and 
company one evening at home. Mrs. Porter will be very 
popular. Frank, gay and conversible, she is cordial 
with every one, and pleases every one. And so odd, an 
absolute original. The first rainy day I can find time 
I mean to draw her portrait and record some of her 
sayings and phrases, to add to my collection of original 
pictures. I like her very much, but shall see little of her, 
for she is now in for it, up to the very ears in the bustle 
and business of company. She has hardly time to eat 
or sleep she says. I went out one morning visiting with 
her, her list of visits to be returned, already amounted 
to 500 and all who call on her, she is obliged to invite 
to her parties. As Mr. Cox 1 of your city, who preached 
for us said, "Is the Lord a hard master, is his work 
drudgery. No I tell you, his yoke is easy and his bur- 
den light. It is the world that is a master and let you do 

1 Probably Samuel Hanson Cox, a Presbyterian divine, one of the founders 
of the University of the City of New York. 


what you will, slave yourself to death, give health, give 
fortune, give time and all you have and still you can 
never please him." And this is true, Oh hard and ex- 
citing world, / will not be thy slave. 


[Washington, January, 1829.] 

Wednesday morning : We had a most agreeable even- 
ing without the aid of other amusement than what 
the intellect afforded. Conversation never flagged a 
moment, but until 12 o'clock was sustained with such 
animation that every one expressed surprise on discov- 
ering it was so late. Dr. and Mrs. Lovel, Dr. and 
Mrs. Lindsay, several ladies you do not know, Gen'l. 
Van Rensalaer, Mr. Henry, Mr. Wood, Mr. Chase, three 
literary and agreeable single men and a number of mar- 
ried ones, Mr. Campbell, accustomed in the circle of his 
wife's family, to gay and fashionable society (she was 
the sister of the rich Miss Bowling Sam Bayard courted) 
appears quite like a man of the world in company, — his 
manners polished and refined. It was the most agree- 
able party we have as yet had at home and just such 
as I wish to have, far more to my taste than the other 
occasion when I had Mrs. Clay and the other Secre- 
taries' families, Mrs. Johnson, Cutts, &c, with cards and 
dancing. We all enjoyed ourselves, the young folks 
clustered around the center table and played Insertion, 
the game you taught me and which I so called, wrote 
rhymes, etc., and were merry without being silly — but 
someone rings. 

Thursday: A happy New Year to my beloved sister 
and each individual of her dear family! How are you 
this morning? Would that I could wrap my arms 


i8 29 ] THE BUSTLING CITY 251 

around you and give you the kiss of gratulation. The 
girls you say are to pass this gala day in New York 
and Maria with so many young people around her will 
be younger than usual. I picture you and Mr. Kirk- 
patrick seated at this moment alone and quiet by a big 
blazing fire in your comfortable parlour — each with your 
books. As it is dark and cloudy here it may be tempes- 
tuous with you. Our city is as alive and bustling as 
New York — There are few persons who are sitting 
quietly at home — everyone is thronging to the Presi- 
dent's — to the last Levee of Mr. Adams carriages were 
rolling incessantly past. I am seated with Julia in the 
front parlour by a good fire of Lehigh coal. Mr. Smith 
and the other gentlemen are surrounding a wood fire 
in the dining room, they being disinclined to see com- 
pany who may call. All are reading except myself and 
my book is by me, but before I open it I could not 
resist the impulse of my heart to write to you. I have 
again read your last letter and feel interested in the 
account you give of your society — The only public char- 
ity of whose beneficial influence I feel no doubt is the 
education of the poor. This goes to the root of the 
evil; in giving instruction, you give to the poor the 
means of avoiding poverty. Most other public charities, 
by relieving their present wants, take from them the 
most powerful incentive, that of necessity, to provide 
for the future by their own exertions. — They depend on 
the relief benevolence extends to them and do little for 
themselves. I shall participate in the pleasure success 
will afford you and were I nearer would as gladly par- 
ticipate in your labours. Mrs. McClane of Delaware has 
come. I passed two hours with her and then had fairly 
to run away, for she talked at such a rate it was difficult 
to get off. "How many children have you brought with 


you," said I — "Let me see — three and a half — am I not 
venturesome to come with half finished work?" She is 
in excellent spirits — animated and political — her hus- 
band has staked everything on his political measures, 
his practice injured, his popularity in his own state gone 1 
— Jackson's election affords him something more than 
mere triumph. I have no doubt he builds on it hope, nay 
almost certainty of office. But alas ! I fear disappoint- 
ment awaits him, as well as many other supporters of 
Jackson. All cannot be in the Cabinet — Those who are 
not what will they do ? Turn against him ? One of his 
warmest partisans speaking about Mr. McClain last night 
said he must remain in the Senate. They will not spare 
him, for certainly as his seat was vacated an administra- 
tion man would be put in — After the example of your 
state, who mean, we are told, to turn out Gov'r. D. and 
put in Mr. Southard. The aim of the defeated party 
certainly is to get a majority in the Senate and thereby 
to control the President. Tonight Gen'l. Eaton, the 
bosom friend and almost adopted son of Gen'l. Jackson, 
is to be married to a lady whose, reputation, her previous 
connection with him both before and after her husband's 
death, has totally destroyed. 2 She is the daughter of 
O'Neal who kept a large tavern and boarding house 
whom Littleton knew. She has never been admitted into 
good society, is very handsome and of not an inspiring 
character and violent temper. She is, it is said, irresist- 
ible and carries whatever point she sets her mind on. 
The General's personal and political friends are very 
much disturbed about it; his enemies laugh and divert 
themselves with the idea of what a suitable lady in wait- 
ing Mrs. Eaton will make to Mrs. Jackson and repeat the 

1 Louis McLane, of Delaware, was appointed Minister to England, 1829, 
Secretary of the Treasury, 1831, and Secretary of State, 1833. 
1 See Mrs. Smith's letter to Mrs. Boyd, spring of 1829, infra. 


old adage, "birds of a feather will flock together." Dr. 
Simm and Col. Bomford's families are asked. The 
ladies declare they will not go to the wedding, and if 
they can help it will not let their husbands go. We 
spent the evening at Dr. Simm's last night. All present 
were Jacksonians — Dr. Simm the most ardent and de- 
voted. He had lately received a letter from Gen'l. J. 
which he promised to show me. I wanted to see it 
immediately, suspecting, as I told him, if he deferred 
showing it, it would be with the intention of correcting 
the orthography. He laughed and joked on the subject 
very good naturedly and about Mrs. J. 1 and her pipe in 
the bargain. What a change will take place in our 
society — how many excellent families shall we lose. I 
told the Doctor I should cry all day long on the 4th of 
March, for my politics were governed by my heart and 
not my head — To dismiss Mr. Wirt! Where will he 
get such another man? Oh, how sorry, very sorry I 
should be. Our intimacy is progressing and time might 
transmute it into friendship. But these miserable fetters 
will deprive me of this hope. For eight years how I did 
love to go to the President's house on this day. The 
gracious countenance that then beamed on the thronging 
multitude, the sweet mild voice, the cordial pressure of 
the hand, I could no longer meet and therefore I will not 
go. How much goodness and greatness then dwelt 
there — now shrouded in the cold and narrow grave — the 
home of all men. Thither we are hastening, the humble 
and the ambitious, the poor and rich, the vanquished 
and the triumphant. How trivial and inconsequent are 
the rivalships and conflicts which now make such a stir. 
A few years and the eager, animated actors on the pres- 
ent scene shall be still and silent and forgotten — and we 

1 It was well known that Mrs. Jackson smoked a pipe. 


too, my sister, — for my part I look not for a return of 
this day. I feel astonished that I am still here, but now 
that my long secretly indulged wish of having my girls 
fixed in the city is fulfilled I am ready — I am willing to 
leave them. They will not now be left in the inactivity 
and desolation of solitude. I enjoy life, but I have had 
enough of it. Were it not for the constitutional and 
merely animal gaiety of my disposition I should be dread- 
fully weary of this twice told tale. But these spirits 
bouy me up on the calm surface of life's sea and give to 
my exterior an appearance of enjoyment, often delusive. 
Serious reflection and deep feeling float not on the sur- 
face. I therefore am not known or even suspected. At 
this moment how little would a visitor who should enter 
and with whom I should rattle away on the occurrences 
of the day, how little would my own children who sit 
around me imagine the subject of my thoughts and feel- 
ings during the many wakeful hours of last night — 
thoughts and feelings which still occupy mind and heart 
— Yes, at this moment I would rather shut myself up in 
my own room and weep than sit in the parlour and 
entertain company — I hear someone coming, a carriage 

Friday. — A right down snow storm! The first one 
we have had this season — it was very complaisant to wait 
until the gaities of the holidays were over. Last night 
the incessant rolling of carriages sounded like continual 
peals of thunder or roaring of the wind, and every car- 
riage having lights the appearance was very singular. 
The night was dark and the lights darting and flying 
about in every direction (for nothing but the lamps was 
visible) appeared like brilliant meteors in the air. Mr. 
Smith called me to the door to look at them. The pave- 
ment, indeed street, in front of the English Minister's 

i82 9 ] A CALL ON MRS. CLAY 255 

house 1 was light as noonday, a line of torches being 
placed along the pavement. The street was full of car- 
riages, about 400 it is said, all with lights and in motion. 
His ball was given, it is said, to the President's family 
and was more brilliant than any former. We kept our 
resolution and would not go — neither to a ball in George- 
town to which we were asked. Sent. Eaton's wedding 
likewise took place last night, so that the streets were as 
light and as full as in the morning. This is a long New 
Year's letter. I indulged myself in scribbling so much 
because the gents being away from you I wished as far 
as I could to amuse your solitude and supply their place. 
On reading over these two crowded sheets I fear they 
will tire you, but at least they will prove how much I 
think of you. Good day, dearest sister — now for an 
uninterrupted morning's reading. I shall enjoy it. 

Yours tenderly. 


[Washington, January, 1829] 
. . . . We talked — my goodness, how we talked, 
so fast and so loud we could scarcely hear each other. 
"Tell us all about the gay world," said Mrs. Clifton. 
"We poor people know nothing of it but by rumour." 
So we told of all the gay and great folks and great 
parties, and marriages and deaths, funerals and festivals, 
we knew anything of, while we sat round the table and 
drank our tea. Scarcely could we get away from these 
attached friends. But the sun had set and we had other 
visits to pay. On our way back we stopped to see an 
old friend Mr. Ingham and his lady, who arrived a few 

1 Charles Richard Vaughan was then British minister. 


days ago — and then proceeded to Mrs. Clay's, where I 
reproached myself for not being oftener, considering 
the present state of affairs. We were conducted up 
stairs, the door of the little drawing-room opened. All 
was bright with splendid furniture, lamps and blazing 
fire, but no smiling faces like those we left in the little 
kitchen mingled their light with the surrounding objects. 
Mrs. C. was mournfully walking the room and as we 
entered, held up her ringer, to impose silence, and pointed 
to the sopha. "He sleeps/' whispered she. I felt a shock 
on turning my eyes as she spoke, on the sopha was 
stretched at full length Mr. Clay face and all, completely 
cover'd with a dark cloak, which looked like a black pall. 
We took our chairs, without speaking and sat silent. 
Our entrance however had awakened him and after a 
minute or two, he slowly rose and putting the cloak aside 
reclined in one corner with his feet stretched along the 
sopha. I had not seen him for three weeks and was 
shocked at the alteration in his looks. He was much 
thinner, very pale, his eyes sunk in his head and his 
countenance sad and melancholy — that countenance 
generally illumined with the fire of genius and ani- 
mated by some ardent feeling. His voice was feeble 
and mournful. I cannot describe dear Bayard what 
melancholy feelings were excited in my breast. But 
I had come purposely to try and cheer my excellent 
friend Mrs. Clay, who I knew was sick and sad, so I 
resisted my melancholy tho' I could not help continually 
contrasting the little kitchen and its inmates, with this 
present scene. There gaiety had been spontaneous, here 
it was forced. Still I was, if [torn out], at least cheerful 
and said everything I could think of to amuse my great 
friends, with far less success however, than with my 
poor friends. Gentlemen came in and enquiries were 


made about the other sick members of the Cabinet. Mr. 
Rush, who has been alarmingly ill, for a week past, is 
not it is fear'd yet out of danger. The first symptoms of 
disease were altogether in the head. Mr. Southard, tho' 
just out of his room, after three weeks confinement, is 
appointd acting Secretary of the treasury. He is so 
feeble that I fear this added labour will produce a re- 
lapse. Mr. Clay has not been out for a week and is 
scarcely able to sit up. Last week Mr. Wirt had two 
attacks, to which they gave no name, a vertigo, followed 
by a loss of sense or motion. One attack, he remained 
three hours, insensible, the gentlemen all agreed, the only 
chance he had for prolonged life was his relinquishing 
his practice. During a week or more, Genl. Porter, was 
almost blind from inflamation of the eyes and went to 
his office with two blisters on, one behind each ear. Mr. 
Adams always appear^ in fine spirits, but it is said, is so 
feeble as to be obliged to relinquish his long walks and 
to substitute rides on horseback — this, I give from hear- 
say, for I have not seen him. How strange it is, that 
every individual of the administration, should be ill. I 
really feel very anxious about Mr. Rush and Mr. Clay. 
You, from your connection with his sons, will feel most 
for Mr. R. and I need not caution you not to mention 
what I have said, lest you alarm them, as it is probable 
they are not informed of the worst symptoms. You 
will know, sooner than I shall, the result of election of 
Senator. From the last news, I fear Judge Southard 
will lose his election and Mr. Ewing be chosen. 1 I shall 
be sorry. I hoped we should keep this amiable family. 
The thought of losing so many old and agreeable ac- 
quaintances, not to say friends, makes me feel sad, — 

1 Theodore Frelinghuysen was elected. On his retirement from the Navy 
Department in 1829 Judge Southard became Attorney General of New 


the time is rapidly approaching. Mrs. Clay's next draw- 
ing-room, closes this social scene, intercourse between 
these families and general society. She says, she shall 
not go out any more and immediately after next Wed- 
nesday, begin to pack up and make preparations for 
going home. The President, in the course of ten days 
or two weeks is going to leave the President's House 
and remove to Commodore Porter's House, which he 
has rented. What a change, what a change will there 
be in our city. On no former occasion has there been 
anything like it. 

Saturday morning. Susan and I, accompanied by 
Mrs. Barnet went last evening to Mrs. Lovel's, where 
we met a much larger company than we expected, but 
very agreeable. It is a right down snow storm to-day. 
After closing this letter I shall write a long one to your 
aunt Boyd. You know I love to write on a stormy day. 
If the weather does not prevent I expect a small chess 
party to meet here this evening. Do you not wish you 
were with us. Good morning dear Bayard. Now you 
have answered the others my turn comes and I shall look 
impatiently for a letter. 


[Washington] January 12, 1829. Monday. 
. . . . Rank, honors, glory, are such unsubstan- 
tial empty things that they can never satisfy the desires 
that they create. You would not wonder at these re- 
flections, if living as I do in the midst of a defeated 
and a triumphant party — in the midst of men who have 
expended health of body and peace of mind, a large 
portion of their lives, who have watched and worked, 


toiled and struggled, sacrificed friends and fortune, and 
domestic comfort, and gained what? Nothing, that I 
can perceive, but mortification and disappointment, the 
best part of their lives passed in pursuit of that which 
in possession was embittered and vexatious, and in the 
loss leaves nothing behind. Every one of the public men 
who will retire from office on the fourth of March will 
return to private life with blasted hopes, injured health, 
impaired or ruined fortunes, embitterd tempers and 
probably a total inability to enjoy the remnant of their 
lives. Poor Judge Southard has been very ill, is still 
confined to his room and looks wretchedly. Mr. Rush 
totally secludes himself; nobody sees him. Mr. Clay 
still keeps on the mask of smiles. Genl. Porter less 
hackneyed and worn out worried or weakened looks and 
I suppose feels the best of all, but even he, hospitably as 
he lives and universally as he entertains, must injure his 
private property. Yet with these examples before their 
eyes, others eagerly seek for the same places, indulging 
the same high hopes, which will be followed by like dis- 
appointments and vexations. Such are the irresistible 
allurements of ambition! But oh what a gloom is cast 
over the triumph of Genl. Jackson, by the death of a 
wife fondly and excessively loved! of a wife who it is 
said, could control the violence of his temper, sooth the 
exacerbations of feelings always keenly sensitive and ex- 
cessively irritable, who heal'd by her kindness wounds in- 
flicted by his violence, and by her universal charity and 
benevolence conciliated public opinion. It is said that 
she not only made him a happier, but a better man. I 
fear not only the domestic circle, but the public will suffer 
from this restraining and benign influence being with- 
drawn. Affliction generally softens, but sometimes it 
sours the human heart, — should it have the latter effect 


the public councils and affairs will have reason to de- 
plore this awful and sudden event. She died the day 
before the one on which the festival of triumph was to 
take place at Nashville, — feasting was turned into mourn- 
ing, the festival into a funeral, the cannons and drums 
that were to proclaim the victory of political party 
sounded only to proclaim the victory of death. To die 
was the common lot, but to die in such peculiar circum- 
stances and at such a moment is an event rare as it is 
solemn and carries with it such a deep conviction of the 
impotency of honor and grandeur and power that the 
impression can not be easily effaced from a reflecting 
mind. On mine it has made a deep and I hope a salutary 
one. . . . Strange that a single woman, possessed 
of goodness tho' destitute of talents, could thus influence 
the destiny of nations! A similar case will occur to 
your mind perhaps in recollecting the history of Greece. 
It was Themistocles (I believe) who said, My little son 
governs his mother, his mother governs me, — I govern 
Athens, Athens governs Greece, Greece governs the 
world. So my boy governs the world. . . . One 
morning Mrs. McClain of Delaware, who you know is a 
great favorite of mine, Mrs. Clay, Mrs. Cutts and Mrs. 
Holly sat a long time with me. Mrs. McC. is so enter- 
taining and agreeable that time literally flies, when I am 
with her. She and Mrs. Porter are extremely alike in 
character, — gay, frank and intelligent. But Mrs. P. has 
a warmer heart and no one can know without loving her. 
I have seen a great deal of her lately and propose passing 
this evening with her. Every other Monday (which I 
call her great Monday) she sends out hundreds of invi- 
tations, has the band of musick and opens four rooms. 
The intervening, (or as I call it, her little Monday) she 
sees any friends who choose to go, but without particular 

i82 9 ] PARTY AT MRS. DICKENS 261 

invitations. We have been invited to all, but have de- 
clined going on the Great Mondays. I promise myself 
much pleasure this evening. 

Last week we were asked for the 2'd time to Mrs. 
Dickens 1 and as she said it was a small social party I 
and Susan went, but half, if not all Congress and their 
wives were there and the people almost a solid mass, — 
it was with difficulty, I secured a comfortable seat in a 
corner of the room for Susan and myself. For the be- 
ginning of the evening we knew not a creature in the 
room, — they being the strangers and visitors in the city. 
About 9 o'clock Mr. and Mrs. McClain entered ; she spied 
me, and as glad of a comfortable seat as myself, a vacant 
chair next me. We laughed and talked so merrily as 
to attract Mrs. Porter, who with difficulty broke away 
from the crowd of gentlemen that surrounded her and 
came to us. She made Susan get up and give her her 
chair, much to poor Sue's regret who (a most terrible 
thing to her) had to stand. With the Secretary and 
Senator's ladies, our corner became the most attractive 
spot in the room, next to the Pianno, where the Miss 
Fultons (from New York) were playing and singing in 
high style — Italian in perfection. Madam Garcia over 
again. But charming as the musick was, it could not 
interrupt our conversation. Several gentlemen gathered 
round the great ladies and the rest of the evening I passed 
very pleasantly. I knew not who gave most delight 
Mrs. P. or Mrs. McC. I should call them both Rattles 
if they were not something so much better, — they are 
charming women. Mrs. P. had asked me to find her a 
poor girl, who would be willing to go to New York with 
her as a servant. Last week I was called to visit a 
family, in the extremity of want and sickness, — 6 chil- 
1 Wife of Asbury Dickens. 


dren, 4 of whom were girls. Their necessities were so 
far beyond my ability to relieve, that it occurred to me 
to recommend one of the girls to Mrs. P. and to make 
known to her the situation of the family. It was dark 
when I went and bitterly cold. Mrs. P. was going in 
the evening to Baron Krudener's 1 Ball, but the moment 
I described the condition of this family, she called her 
servant, had bread, candles, &c put up, tied a hankerchief 
over her head, put on an old plaid cloak, jumped into 
our carriage and went with me to see them. The next 
day when I went to see them, I found on her return 
home she had sent them a blanket, meat, meal, and other 
articles. Who that looked at her that evening, gaily 
dressed, charmed and charming, flattered and carressed, 
would have imagined her as she had been an hour be- 
fore, wrapped in an old cloak, seated by the bed-side of 
a dying woman in a cold, miserable room, surrounded 
by half naked and starved children? But could they 
have witnessed the contrast, how would delight and 
admiration have been converted into love and esteem, or 
rather the one added to the other. Can you wonder at 
my loving this woman? Truly, I would rather General 
Jackson should not come, than that such a woman should 
go away. There is no one in the city so popular. The 
New York papers have celebrated her and say she throws 
Mrs. Clay completely in the shade. 


Paris, January 26, 1829. 

My Dear Friend: 

Since I received your last letter, together with the 
charming work which you sent me and which I read with 

1 Russian Minister 1827 to 1836. 

2 Translation from the French. 


great pleasure, two events have happened in my family 
in which your mother's heart will take part. My daugh- 
ter, after long suffering, was successfully delivered of a 
pretty daughter who promises to be large and strong. 
She suffered at first in nursing, but as she embraces our 
principles, she took courage and suffering yielded to 
maternal perseverance. Her little one who is 2 months 
old is beginning to know her mother and even her father, 
who quits his scientific labors to come and rock his 
daughter when he hears her cry. It is a great happiness 
for me to be a grandmother and to see my mother still 
able to come to my daughter's house and dance my 
daughter's daughter on her lap. However, this happi- 
ness is mingled with a very keen sorrow, for Theodore, 
who will soon be 24 years old, is endowed with agreeable 
physical features, has a fine pronunciation, and has done 
some remarkable work at studying, was going through 
his last year preparatory to becoming a lawyer, and had 
already pleaded with some success, but he did not like 
this occupation, which is so independent and which I 
should so much have desired that he would pursue. His 
father often expressed regret before him that he had 
ceased being employed by the Ministry of Foreign Af- 
fairs, where he might have secured a position for him. 
Having been born at sea, hearing constantly of traveling, 
being surrounded by men of learning who had made some 
interesting voyages, and having himself passed three 
years in Germany in a very agreeable and brilliant man- 
ner during his childhood, poor Theodore opened his eyes 
and tormented his father to assert his former rights in 
that Ministry in his favor. Well, Pichon was recently 
charged with a negotiation with the Republic of Hayti 
with Mr. Esmanyart. Their two sons have been ap- 
pointed secretaries of the commission. Good bye plead- 


ing and the lawyer's robe, for he no longer thinks of any- 
thing but the embroidered coat of secretary of legation. 
The commissioners are not going away any more, for the 
negotiations are being attended to in Paris, but my Theo- 
dore has persuaded his father to ask the Count de la 
Feronais, who is very kind to my husband, to have him 
appointed pupil vice consul in Haiti. He has gone, he has 
left father, mother, brother, sister, and his little niece who 
already smiled at him. He has gone, seeing happiness 
in a foreign land where I lost my brother-in-law of yellow 
fever. He takes the place of the son of a lady whom I 
knew well during my childhood, and who just perished 
also of that terrible disease. He embarked after arrival 
at Brest without having time to write to us except a 
word to my mother, whom he will probably never see 
again. There he is in the midst of the dangers of the 
sea, and the climate, the child whom God had given me 
to take the place of Louis! The same fate perhaps 
awaits him. Oh, my friend, do you feel all I suffer ? I 
have not the courage to go into society. I dread those 
satisfied countenances which will greet me and congratu- 
late me on the fine career of my son, on the great success 
he will achieve, and all those commonplaces — nonsensical 
ideas of people who do not understand real happiness. 
I thought I had prepared things for my old age; I 
thought I had inspired in my children, by dint of care and 
tenderness, enough affection for me to create in them 
a leaning toward some profession which would enable 
them to live honorably near us. Well, Theodore, if I 
keep him, will go from one consulate to another, and 
when he comes to Europe I shall think that I am near 
him. He will probably marry a woman that I do not 
know, and his children will be strangers to me! Is 
that where my dreams of happiness and the cares which 


I bestowed on him as a child were to lead me ? In order 
to part with him as late as possible, I had been his first 
Latin teacher. His father had put him into a college 
near to our house. We saw him very often, and yet 
when, after his vacation, he had to return there and 
leave the paternal roof after we had passed 6 weeks to- 
gether, what tears we shed together ! Yet he is leaving 
us now perhaps forever, and his young brother, who had 
fever three days owing to his grief at his departure, and 
who also seemed to love us so tenderly, is thinking of 
nothing but studying to enter the Military School of 
St. Cyr ! How mothers who have sons are to be pitied ! 
A gentleman was saying the other day that those who 
had only sons were like hens that had hatched nothing 
but ducklings. It is a true image : The poor hen resting 
on the shore while her offspring find pleasure in an ele- 
ment which makes her tremble for them. I am very 
happy, at least, that my Henrietta has inherited my 
tastes, perhaps even in an exaggerated degree. She 
likes nothing but domestic life. She has married a man 
of intellect, who enjoys great celebrity in sciences and 
who loves me as his own mother. She will bring her 
daughter up well, and out of four children I shall have 
that one, and she will have procured a son for me, while 
those whom I nursed are leaving me! I hope very fer- 
vently that Theodore will go to the United States some 
day. He will see you and that will be a consolation for 
me. He might have gone to New York with Mr. Dan- 
nery, but the consulate general of San Domingo is a 
legation, there is no minister, and Theodore having been 
secretary of the commission, is acquainted with the nego- 
tiations and is almost secretary of legation, which is more 
interesting for a mind like his, for political affairs have 
more interest than the purely commercial ones of the 


consulate. May God protect him and preserve him from 
sickness, and he may be happy, for he is sacrificing every- 
thing for a brilliant future. He has some great advan- 
tages. He knows three living languages — English, Ger- 
man, and Spanish; he has ideas enough about science 
to derive agreeable pastime from them, and by working 
he ought to become a very distinguished consul. As 
for myself, I must learn to be happy to have a son whose 
name will be in the gazette, and I must not think of the 
fact, when I receive a satisfactory letter two months after 
it was dated, that two months have passed since it was 
written ! I am falling into old age with all the anguishes 
of my youth. Alas ! I will support them with courage, 
believing them to be a sacrifice necessary to my future 
happiness. Where is that happiness so dearly bought? 
My poor husband is exhibiting fortitude, but tenderness 
is getting the better of his fatherly pride and he is suffer- 
ing keenly at this departure. However, political events 
and the world distract him. I, on the other hand, am 
constantly brooding over my grief, and see nothing but 
my son, ill and deprived of my care ! But, my friend, I 
wished to speak to you of the pleasure I derived from 
your pretty story about "What is real gentility." It is 
charming. It is a very faithful depiction of the char- 
acter of Mr. and Mrs. Madison. It seemed to me that 
I saw her. The visit of Mrs. Madison to the good 
mother who falls and breaks her pipe is a picture made 
from nature. And I have made the acquaintance here 
of a young American lady who is so great a woman of 
fashion that I believe she prides herself on imitating the 
fickle and unrepublican character which you so wittily 
depict. Your country worries me ; it is becoming spoiled ; 
there you have a military President; it is an attack 
against your liberty ! You are spreading out ; the taste 

i8 29 ] AMERICA IN DANGER 267 

of high society and rank is being formed; take care! 
Titles and nobility are at your doors. You were getting 
on so well without the aristocracy necessary to the old 
world ! As to us, we are gaining more than you are los- 
ing, and we have more freedom than I ever saw in 
France. I do not speak of the time when Bonaparte had 
given us a mute legislative chamber, spies everywhere, 
and imprisonment for talking in our own houses, with- 
out our friends' knowing we were there, not to speak of 
the evils of war. The parties are beginning to merge 
together, and if a few ambitious persons are discontent, 
we must hope that they will not succeed in depriving us 
of the peace and liberty which we are now finally en- 

It is late and I will leave you, asking you to embrace 
the opportunity offered by Mr. Dannery's stay in New 
York to let me hear from you as well as from Mr. Smith 
and all your family. We occasionally see Mr. Boyd. 
He wanted me to help him choose some books for his 
young children, but the preparations for the departure of 
Theodore have thus far deprived me of this pleasure, 
though I have not given it up. 

Accept, dear lady, the assurance of my sincere affection 
and the respects of my husband, and remember me to Mr. 
Smith and our common friends. Yours truly, 

A. Emilie Pichon. 


[Washington] Friday Jan. 30. [1829.] 
. . . . I was interrupted by the entrance of com- 
pany, and if the truth were known, I dare to say, you 
are glad I was broken in upon a subject more serious than 
pleasant. Well, I will resume my letter, but not my sub- 


ject, but continue my journal from my letter of last week. 
I then told you we were going to have a small party, a 
small, but very select and agreeable one it was. Mr. and 
Mrs. Calhoun, she as friendly and social, he as charm- 
ing and interesting, as ever Mr. and Mrs. Gilmer, (our 
Crawford friends) Mr. and Mrs. Rives, both talented 
and superior folks, Phillip Barbour, of whose eloquence 
and coloquial talents you have heard your father and me 
talk. Col. and Mrs. Bomford, Dr. and Mrs. Lovel, Mr. 
and Mrs. Seaton, Dr. and Mrs. Simm, 1 Genl. Porter and 
the ever admired and charming Mrs. P. with Miss 
Moris, Caroline Breckenridge and about a dozen more, 
Senators and Members. Conversation flowed without in- 
terruption, every one was gay and animated. Some 
played chess, some sat by the table and talked, but most 
conversed in groups. Every one did as they pleased. 
For a wonder, in a Washington party, they could sit, as 
well as stand. There were above 40 in the room, yet it 
was not the least crowded and I received many compli- 
ments on the greater rationality, as well as pleasure 
of such a small select party, than the usual squeezes and 
crowds. I enjoyed myself more than on any previous 
evening this winter. I conversed by turns with all my 
guests, but longest with the two I most admired, Mr. 
Barbour and Mr. Calhoun. The limits of a letter will 
not allow all, otherwise I should like to detail what was 
said by these gentlemen. Mr. Barbour conversed about 
Mr. Jefferson and the University of Virginia and gave me 
some interesting information, Mr. Calhoun about the late 
election and the characters of some of the leaders on both 
sides. I really ought to commit observations such as his 
to paper, but I can not find time. When Mrs. Porter and 

1 Dr. Thomas Sim, who after the death of his first wife became engaged 
to Mrs. Smith's sister-in-law, was one of the founders of the Medical 
Society of the District of Columbia and its second president. 


her large party entered, she as usual created quite a sen- 
sation. All crowded round her. She had a nod for 
one, a smile for another and good humour and gaiety 
for all. While with Mr. Calhoun and afterwards with 
others she carried on a sprightly conversation, to which 
all around listened with delight. Every gentleman then 
in the room was a Jacksonian, some violent, but she ral- 
lied them so charmingly, that had they been enemies they 
must have become friends. ''Oh," said she, in reply to 
some remark on her going to every party, "I have not 
long to stay, so I am determined to see and enjoy all I 
can. If my time is short, it shall be sweet, as the proverb 
says, short and sweet. But no matter/' added she nod- 
ding her head significantly, — "If we must go now, we 
will be back in 4 years, so take it yourselves." The gen- 
tlemen laughed and said they would not relinquish so 
soon as that. "We'll see, we'll see," said she nodding 
good humourd'ly. "At least we will both do our best, 
one to keep in, the other to come in" or something to 
that effect. "What a pity it is," observed Mr. Calhoun 
to me, "that all the ladies can not carry it off (their de- 
feat) as charmingly as Mrs. Porter, but some I hear 
take it much to heart." "The gentlemen more than the 
ladies," said I. "All the Secretaries are sick. One day 
last week, with the exception of Genl. P. all were con- 
fined to their beds." "After all," said Mr. C, "these 
things are, as it were, the mere charity of war and tri- 
umph of defeat, change sides and every one takes his 
turn, so that one ought not to feel great elevation or 
great depression, but in either case take the result with 
moderation, but above all, as far as possible, to avoid 
mingling personal, with political feelings. There is 
nothing from which I have really suffered in the late 
conflict of parties, but the division it has created between 


me and personal friends ; as for the enmity and abuse of 
political opponents, that is nothing, — wounds which leave 
no scars." 

But I must check my pen, the detail of conversations 
is endless. It was near twelve when the company dis- 
persed. We had several invitations which we declined, 
that to Miss Williams wedding, one. This party was 
not only a crowd, but a crush; some folks were nearly 
hurt. It is supposed a thousand invitations were given 
and actually above 700 accepted and the house not large. 
On Saturday evening the bride saw company. We had 
two other invitations for that evening, to a musical party 
at Mrs. Wirt's and a chess party at Mrs. Burnels, besides 
which Anna Maria was asked to a cottillion party at Miss 
Sutherland's and a party to the theatre with Mrs. Seaton. 
She preferred the last and went to Mrs. Seaton's where 
she staid until Monday morning, happy, as she always is, 
with these friends. Your father, yes your father, went 
with Susan and myself to see the Bride, and well worth 
was she to be seen. Beauty itself. I could do nothing 
but look at her, nor Mr. Vaughn (the english minister) 
either. He seemed as if he could eat her up and if 
eyes could have eaten, he would have devoured her. 
Persico, the Italian Sculpter, has begged permission of 
her father to take her bust, which he says is faultless, 
perfectly classical. Her next sister is as pleasing, al- 
most as beautiful, tho' not so classically or symetrically 
proportioned. The groom is a handsome and pleasing 
young man. I conversed a good deal with him. If 
such a thing as perfect felicity ever is found on earth, 
surely this lovely young couple possess it. So young, 
so beautiful, so virtuous and so loving and beloved, — 
their first love, and that approved by parents and friends 
and crowned with affluence. What is wanting? May 


this rare example of riuman felicity long remain unim- 
paired. An agreeable, but not large company was as- 
sembled, and we remained until 3 o'clock. Then, after 
leaving Susan at home and taking up Julia, we went to 
Mr. Barnels, where we found all the company engaged 
at chess. They soon found partners for your father 
and myself. Mr. Bailey, member of Congress and fa- 
mous chess player, for your father, and Mr. Barnel and I. 
Those who did not play conversed together, and even 
we chess folks, with the exception of Mr. Bailey and 
your father, took the liberty to laugh and talk a little. 
I came off victor in two games, and had it not been for 
the entree of oysters, your father thinks he would have 
gained one game of Mr. B. But oysters, ham, wine, 
porter, &c sadly distract one's attention you know. We 
played until 1 1 o'clock and I could have gladly played an 
hour or two longer, but yielded to propriety. . . . 


[Washington] Thursday, 5 Febr. 1829. 
. . . . After tea, about 8 oclock, we went. Un- 
less you had seen it, you can have no idea of the crowd. 
I should say more than a 1000 people. Mr. and Mrs. 
Clay were not well, but supported this trying ordeal ad- 
mirably — for trying it was — to be cheerful when the 
heart was aching and the health impaired, and to smile on 
defeat; tho' surrounded by the victors, yet all this they 
did. I could scarcely help crying and to avoid so awk- 
ward a delemma, laughed a great deal. Oh, the world, 
the world, what a masquerade it is. The drama of the 
Adams administration is now closed, the curtain dropt, 
it has been a kind of tragic-comedy, as indeed the whole 


of life is. I do not suppose any of the members will be 
seen any more in the social circle. As soon as possible 
after the 4th of March, they will take their departure. 
There was a rumour in the drawing-room that Mr. Wirt 
was again ill and had just had another severe attack. 
Dr. Hunt who came from his house, said he had been 
with him for three hours. Mr. Wirt is rather better. I 
shall call at both places this morning. 

Anna, went with Julia and me last evening. She was 
highly delighted with the scene and enjoyed it exces- 
sively. Julia, looked very well and both the girls had 
more attention paid them than usual and of course could 
not fail being gratified. We did not get home until 
after 1 1 oclock. Col. and Mrs. Ward came with us and 
as we were a little hungry or so, we had pickled oysters, 
cold beef, &c &c and laughed and talked until 12 oclock. 
Mr. Ward has been here this morning to enquire after 
our healths. 

In a day or two Genl. Jackson will arrive — he declines 
all parade and instead of the grand display that was ex- 
pected, I suppose he will make a quiet entree which I 
shall be glad of on account of our old friends. The car- 
riage is ready for me to go out — so good morning. 

Wednesday morning. It is a week today since I be- 
gan this letter, and not one half hour have I had to 
finish it. Engagements of various kinds at home and 
abroad, occupy every moment, leaving me no time to read 
even a novel. One evening I passed most pleasantly at 
Mrs. Clay's in company with Mrs. Porter, her brother 
Mr. Brekenridge 1 and his wife and a few others. I 
am delighted with Mr. B. and conversed a great deal with 
him — the next morning he and Mr. Danforth, another 

1 Probably John Breckenridge, Chaplain of Congress in 1822-3 and after- 
wards pastor of the 2d Presbyterian Church of Baltimore. 


clergyman and Dr. Collins were with us a long while. 
One whole morning Mr. Campbell spent with us and 
every morning and every evening Mr. Ward has been 
here. He is almost an inmate of our family — who it is he 
is pleased with it is impossible to tell, his attentions are so 
equally divided. I do not think therefore that love is the 
attraction. He brings us new books very often and is in 
every way agreeable. I shall quite miss him when he 
goes, the 4th of March. 

We were preparing to go to the House to see the 
votes counted for President, but the weather is unfavour- 
able. General Jackson has arrived. Preperations were 
made and crowds would have gone to meet him, but he 
eluded them all, and came in early this morning — 4 hours 
before the expected time. Your father just stepped in to 
tell us, to prevent our going among others to see the 
parade. But now I hear cannons firing, drums beating 
and hurraing — I really cannot write, so adieu for the 

Monday 16 Feb. I might as well have finished my 
letter as gone down on the avenue with the girls. Noth- 
ing but boys — everything has been so quiet, that if one 
did not hear of the fact, no one would know Genl. J had 
arrived. It has made no change whatever even in the 
hopes and fears of the expectants and the fearers — both 
tremblingly alive to what may happen — his most intimate 
friends, the very persons who are candidates for office, 
do not yet know who are to form his cabinet — meanwhile 
parties have stopped, the old administration have closed 
their houses and no others yet open. A universal dull- 
ness pervades society — or rather gloom — at least among 
those with whom I most associate. Judge Southard has 
had another and more dreadful attack. I saw him on 
Saturday — he looks to me as if he had not long to live. 


Genl. Porter, has likewise been very ill and kept his 
room most part of last week and is not yet out. Mr. 
and Mrs. Clay will not visit, and see only a few friends. 
We, viz, our family, are however as gay as usual and 
constantly engaged in little social parties at home or 


[Washington,] Friday 6th Febr. 1829. 
. . . . I do not believe we have been a single day 
alone since we came to the city. We literally live in 
society and that of a very agreeable kind. We have 
greatly enlarged our acquaintance among the members 
of Congress and several begin to visit in a social way. 
Since I last wrote we have had several agreeable parties 
at home — the largest about 40 persons, was made in com- 
pliment to our old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Calhoun. By 
accident most of the company were of Mr. C.'s politics, 
altho' an equal number of administration folks had been 
asked. Mrs. Porter and her family came, but really they 
mingle so frankly and sociably with the Jacksonians, 
that their opposing sentiments are often forgotten. She 
is the most popular woman we have ever had here since 
Mrs. Madison. Gay, frank, communicative, kind. She 
is a universal favourite and it seems like no party at all, 
if she is not present, and when she is, she is so sur- 
rounded, notwithstanding which she makes out to notice 
every body and to make every body feel as if they were 
particularly noticed. A nod, a smile, and shaking of 
the hand, answer the purpose, for the smile or nod of a 
Secretary's lady have a wonderful charm. Noah, 1 in his 
paper, has puffed her at a great rate, on several occasions 

1 Mordecai Manuel Noah in the National Advertiser. 


I am told. But what is better than all this, she is truly 
kind-hearted and charitable, without any ostentation 
whatever. A family of 8 persons whom I made known 
to her, because I was unable to give them the relief they 
required, she has now entirely supported for the last 
month or six weeks. One of the children, by her orders, 
daily carries a basket to her kitchen which is regularly 
filled. Her good nature equals her benevolence. The 
last large party she had, she bade the two girls bring their 
basket at 9 oclock in the evening, and told them they 
might stay in the back room (where the refreshments 
were prepared), see the ladies as they went and came 
thro' the hall and gather up the fragments of the cake, 
blanc-mange, jelly, etc. The poor mother when she told 
me of this the next day seemed absolutely far more grate- 
ful and delighted than by the more substantial donations 
she had received. 

Three days have elapsed since I commenced this letter. 
Every day I have sat down to it, but not been able to 
write more than a few lines without being interrupted. 
Yesterday, the moment I had swallowed my breakfast, I 
came into this parlour and as usual left the girls in the 
dining-room, seized my pen, determined to have a long 
talk, about many things with my own dear sisters. Be- 
fore the above page was written, Mr. Leon, Anna's ex- 
cellent and amiable french-master came to pay me a visit 
and soon after my good neighbor Mrs. Andrew Smith, 
an hour afterwards Mr. Ward, a young Bostonian, a 
great favorite with us all, who has absolutely domes- 
ticated himself in our family. Then Mrs. McClean of 
Delaware, — kindly, charming and interesting. Each and 
all staid most of the morning, and before they went my 
friend Lydia English, who staid all day and night and is 
still with us, and in the evening some gentlemen. Not a 


single minute from ten oclock in the morning, until n 
oclock at night, had I leisure to read or write, and this 
is the history of every day, with the variation of different 


I have tried and other friends have tried, to procure a 
clerkship for him. 1 Mrs. Porter did her very best and 
I used all manner of persuasion and argument with the 
kind, good natured secty of War. — "My dear Madam, 
what am I to do? When we ask Congress for more 
clerks in the Dept and tell them the present number is 
insufficient for the duties of the offices, the reply is, If 
you continue to fill the offices with old men, no number 
will be sufficient. Get young men and fewer will answer 
and the work be better done. This is too true, the pub- 
lic benefit is sacrificed to private interest and charity. 
The Departments are literally over-stocked with old, in- 
efficient clerks. I cannot serve your friend, consistently 
with duty." 


[Washington] Febr 16, 1829. 
. . . . I have been a great deal in Mr. Clay's and 
Southard's family, both ill, — so ill, I do not think either 
has long to live. Yet, they think not so, and attend to 
business, tho' they decline all company at home and never 
go out. I never liked Mr. Clay so well as I do this 
winter, the coldness and hauteur of his manner has van- 
ished and a softness and tenderness and sadness char- 
acterize his manner (to me at least), for I know not how 
it is in general society — that is extremely attaching and 
affecting, — at the same time, perfect good humour, no 
bitterness mingles its gall in the cup of disappointment 

1 A Mr. Andrew Smith, who had failed in business and whose wife was a 
friend of Mrs. Smith's. 


and I often hear him, when only two or three friends are 
present, speak of Genl. Jackson and the present state of 
affairs in a good humour'd sprightly way. He has a 
cause of domestic affliction in the conduct and situation 
of his son 1 a thousand times more affecting than disap- 
pointed ambition. We all went to the last drawing 
room, — we did it to show our respect. My heart was 
heavy, very heavy, that word Last! Immense crowds 
filled the room, crowds of the triumphant party. I could 
not bear it as well as Mrs. Clay. I staid close to her, 
knowing she was so sick she could scarcely stand and 
that both she and Mr. C. for three previous weeks had 
been made very wretched by their domestic grief, — in- 
deed for two weeks Mr. C. had not been able to sleep 
without anodynes. I stood behind her and watched the 
company. She received all with smiling politeness and 
Mr. C. looked gay and was so courteous and gracious, 
and agreeable, that every one remarked it and remarked 
he was determined we should regret him. My heart 
filled to overflowing, as I watched this acting, and to 
conceal tears which I could not repress, took a seat in a 
corner by the fire, behind a solid mass of people. Mr. C. 
saw me, and coming up enquired if Mr. Smith had come. 
I answered in the negative. "But you are," said he 
taking my hand and looking sadly affectionate. "This is 
kind, very kind in you, Mrs. Smith." I returned the 
pressure of his hand, and without reflection said, "If 
you could see my heart, you would then think so." 
"Why what ails your heart?" said he, with a look of 
earnest interrogatory. "Can it be otherwise than sad," 
I answered, looking at Mrs. Clay, "when I think what a 
good friend I am about to lose ?" For a moment he held 
my hand pressed in his without speaking, his eyes filled 
1 His eldest son was insane and confined in an asylum. 


with tears and with an effort he said, "We must not 
think of this, or talk of such things now," and relinquish- 
ing my hand, drew out his handkerchief, turned away 
his head and wiped his eyes, then pushed into the crowd 
and talked and smiled, as if his heart was light and easy. 
Alas, I knew, what perhaps no other among these hun- 
dreds knew, that anguish, heart-rending anguish, was 
concealed beneath that smiling, cheerful countenance, and 
that the animation and spirits which charmed an admir- 
ing circle were wholly artificial. Judge Southard has all 
manner of disappointments to sustain, as well as repeated 
severe attacks of disease and pain. He had until within 
a week of the election, every reason to believe he would 
be chosen Senator, but his friends betrayed him, and one 
friend, old, tried and who was under great obligations. 
Oh, ingratitude is sharper than a serpent's teeth. He 
had just recovered a little strength, when owing to Mr. 
Rush's extreme illness, he was appointed Seer, of the 
Treasury pro tern. ; scarcely able to discharge his own 
business, the addition was too much for him, and a few 
nights ago, sitting late and hard at work, he was seized 
with what his Physician called spasms in his stomach,- — 
for six hours he suffered agony, which even opium could 
not allay, until taken in great quantities. Yesterday, 
when I saw him, he was sitting up surrounded with 
papers, his eyes sunk to the very back of his head, the 
sockets black and hollow, while the eye burnt with un- 
natural brightness. "Oh do not kill yourself," said I, 
as I held his burning hand, "put away those papers. 
You are too ill to attend to business." "I must," re- 
plied he, "if I die at my post," and there I verily believe 
he will die, — he looks awfully. He had his heart set on 
the exploring voyage and had the preparations for it in 
such forwardness, that he thought it impossible Congress 


would prevent it, by refusing the necessary appropria- 
tion. But it is said, they will. Hard things are said of 
him on the floor, motives attributed, which I do not be- 
lieve ever actuated him. Oh how I pity these public men, 
and as I look at Mr. Clay particularly, how often have 
I repeated the apostrophe of Cardinal Wolsey, "Oh had 
I served my God, half so devotedly as I have served my 
King, I should not now in my old age, thus have been 
left," etc. Mr. Rush and afterwards Mrs. Rush have 
been very ill, and are exceedingly depressed, — they have 
not gone out, or received company this winter. Mr. 
Wirt, too, has been ill, but is now better. . . . Phil- 
lip Barbour was here the day after the General's arrival 
and warm Jacksonian as he is, I told him his success 
would cost me too much grief, to allow me to participate 
in the gratulations of the political party to which my 
husband belonged. "I shall cry more than I shall laugh 
on the 4th of March," said I. Mrs. Porter is the only 
one of the administration party, who has been in spirits 
this winter. It is partly constitutional with her and, I 
suspect, part policy. It is impossible when one sees her 
so attentive and even cordial with the Jackson party not 
to suspect, she has some hopes of propitiating them. Yet 
it may be genuine good humour and good spirits. She is 
a charming woman, and what is still better, she is a good 
woman. I have seen a great deal of her, indeed, we are 
on the terms of old friends and relatives. We have been 
asked at least once every week to a party there, last 
week to two, — one a gay company, the other serious, 
religious folks to meet her Brother Mr. Breckenridge. 
Oh what a zealous, saint-like man he is! he is indeed 
a burning and shining light but he is burning fast 
away, flesh and blood can not sustain such exhaust- 
ing and consuming labours. How I wish I could sit 


under his ministry. How cold and lifeless our Pastor 
seems, compared to him. Speaking of Mr. Campbell, 
among other things, all however kind and Christian, he 
made use of those expressive words, "I wish he was 
more steeped in the spirit." I had some delightful com- 
munion with this apostolic man. Surely he is in all 
things like the beloved disciple, so full of love. Such a 
christian would I desire to be, and until I am, until this 
divine love takes full possession of my soul, I shall never 
be as happy, as I feel I have the capacity of being. It is 
good to see the world, as, I see it. Oh Maria, its splendid 
out side, its gaiety and glitter, amuse but do not deceive 
me. How can they, with such striking proofs before me, 
of the bitterness and heartlessness within. And yet I am 
amused, and very much interested in the characters and 
scenes around me, but it is the interest and amusement 
one finds at the theatre. I look upon life as a stage, and 
on men and women as mere actors. One drama is just 
finished, the curtain has dropped, the actors have left the 
stage and I have followed them behind the scenes, where 
their masks and dresses are thrown off and I see them as 
they are, disappointed, exhausted, worn out, retiring 
with broken fortunes and broken constitutions and hearts 
rankling with barbed arrows. 

Another drama is preparing. New characters, in all 
the freshness and vigour of unexhausted strength, with 
the exhileration of hopes undaunted by fear, of spirits 
intoxicated with success, with the aspirations of towering 
ambition are coming on the self-same stage. Will public 
favour cheer their closing, as it inspires the opening 
scene? Time must show, but most probably, they in 
their turn will drink the cup of honor to the bottom and 
find its dregs nauseous and bitter. I hoped this cold 
morning to have been alone, but one set of ladies have 


just gone and here stops another carriage. I wish I 
could be alone one morning. 


[Washington] Wednesday 25th February, 1829. 
With what anxiety and impatience have thousands 
looked forward to the present period, and crowded from 
all parts of the union, to our metropolis to witness the 
splendour of Genl. J.'s reception and his inauguration — 
Poor souls — disappointment has awaited them — The 
General would allow no parade — as I told you in my 
last he entered the city and was in it, many hours with- 
out its being known — and his being here has made no 
change in the aspect of society and would be unknown, 
were it not for the anxiety and curiosity of expectants 
and aspirants and fear-ants (a new word). As for 
gaiety — there is none — even the cotillion parties and pub- 
lic assemblies, theatres and concerts fail to attract citi- 
zens or strangers. I never witnessed such a dullness, 
nay gloom as that which pervades society. The party, 
who are withdrawing from office, sick and melancholy, 
will not mix in society and the private parties given are 
uninteresting to strangers, because there are no Secre- 
taries or public characters there — Genl. Jackson and his 
family, being in mourning, 1 decline all company, so that 
a Party must be grave and sober, to be a la mode. The 
crowds of strangers who are here, having no drawing- 
rooms, no parties, or levees to atend, surge about guess- 
ing for news and spreading every rumour as it rises 
and every day gives rise to new rumours about the Cab- 
inet. Last week it was considered certainly fixed — 

x Mrs. Jackson died in December, 1828, just before he left for 


Van Buren, for state depart'n; Ingham, for the Treas- 
ury, Genl. Eaton for the War, Gov'r Branch for the 
Navy, and Mr. Berrian, attorney Genl. — Astonishment 
and disappointment filled the minds of friends and foes 
— with the exception of Van B the cabinet was pro- 
nounced too feeble to stand and every one said such 
an administration must soon fall — Remonstrances were 
made by the Tennesee delegation in a body, (so it is 
said) against Genl E 's appointment, and after diffi- 
culty and hesitation the General, who it was said, firm as 
a rock, was never known to change, found I suppose, 
that the authority of a President, was very different 
from that of a military chief and must yield to council — 
A change was then said to be made, and Judge McClean, 
put in the cabinet, and Genl. Eaton in his place as post- 
master — But even this, it is said, does not satisfy public 
opinion which will not allow of Genl. Eton holding a 
place which would bring his wife into society — (for 
this is the difficulty) Every one acknowledges Genl. 
Eaton's talents and virtues — but his late unfortunate 
connection is an obstacle to his receiving a place of 
honour, which it is apprehended even Genl. Jackson's 
firmness cannot resist — It is a pity — Every one that 
knows esteems, and many love him for his benevolence 
and amiability. Oh, woman, woman! — The rumour of 
yesterday was, that he was to have no place at home, 
but be sent abroad — so it was added (tho' evidently only 
for the joke of it) that he was to be minister to Hayti 
that being the most proper Court for her to reside in — 
I repeat these are rumours — The Cabinet mentioned 
first, was I believe — official — No one doubted it — the 
changes I mention are doubtful — Van Buren, it is gen- 
erally supposed, will not serve with these gentlemen — 
there being no personal respect or liking between them. 

i82 9 ] THE NEW CABINET 283 

If he declines it will be difficult to find another equal to 
the place, for Tazewell of Virginia 1 is to go to England — 
Everyone thinks there is great confusion and difficulty, 
mortification and disappointment — at the Wigwam — as 
they call the General's lodgings. Mr. Woodbury, 2 looks 
glum as well as several other disappointed expectants. 
He was the only Eastern man, of sufficient consequence 
among the Jacksonians and he has not a place in the 
Cabinet — the first time since the Constitution was 
adopted in which New England was not represented in 
the Cabinet. Such a disregard to New England it is 
supposed will alienate many of the Jacksonians in that 
quarter. Our friends at Kalacama too are sadly dis- 
appointed. Mr. Baldwin confidently expected to be 
Attorney-General, and it is said now he will get abso- 
lutely nothing. Our friend Louis McLean of Del. is 
likewise left in statu quo — though his friends had not 
a doubt of his being in the Cabinet — there are hundreds 
of offices thro, the Union, vacant, which the Senate will 
not fill, viz — sanction Mr. Adams nominations — but de- 
fer filling them until after the fourth of March — All 
the subordinate officers of government, and even to the 
clerks, are full of tremblings and anxiety — To add to 
this general gloom we have had horrible weather, snow- 
storm after snow-storm — the river frozen up, and the 
poor suffering the extremity of cold and hunger — Some 
instances of death from want of fuel, were discovered, 
and awakened public sympathy, and exertion — Mr. 
Gales issued orders for subscriptions to be taken up for 
the relief of the poor, and appointed three persons in 

1 Littleton Waller Tazewell of Norfolk did not go to England, but re- 
mained Senator from Virginia till he resigned in 1833 "from pure disgust 
of Federal politics." 

2 Levi Woodbury of New Hampshire was then Senator. In 1831 he be- 
came Secretary of the Navy and in 1834 Secretary of the Treasury. 


each ward to receive contributions of any and every 
kind — to visit all the dwellings of the poor, and to re- 
lieve their sufferings — Congress gave 50 cords of wood 
to the poor — The Treasury department, not having a 
right to give, sold at first cost (not one fifth the present 
price of wood) 50 cords. — The War department ordered 
all that could be spared to be given on the same terms — 
and members of Congress, officers of government, 
strangers, and citizens have I am told very liberally sub- 
scribed to the relief of sufferings induced by this un- 
precedented severe weather — Today is a dismal day — 
no high and cutting winds make you sensible of the 
cold — but a silent, still freezing is going on, that takes 
one unawares and unprepared — It is raining — the drops 
fall slowly and sound like heavy fall of shot, as if they 
fell, one by one, and they rest on the window panes 
as if so chilled they could not run off — But notwith- 
standing the weather your father has gone to Captain 
Tirgy's funeral 1 — It would have been a splendid mili- 
tary one — but I take it for granted this weather must 
curtail the parade — This puts me in mind of an annunci- 
ation in the paper — viz, that the General declines any 
military parade on the 4th of March, and means to walk 
to the Capitol, to take the oath of office — Our streets are 
now deep in slush — snow, mud, mire ! — and if they con- 
tinue so, until the 4th of March, a pretty procession 
will it be on foot! — a grand sight — for the strangers to 
behold, who have flocked here from the East, the West, 
the North and the South — But yet I like the General for 
his avoidance of all parade — It is true greatness, which 
needs not the aid of ornament and pomp — and delicacy 
too — I like the suppression of military attendance — but 
really think the good old gentleman might indulge him- 
1 He died February 23. 

i82 9 ] ( MR. CLAY'S POWER 285 

self with a carriage — I think I shall like him vastly, when 
I know him — I have heard a number of things about him 
which indicate a kind, warm, feeling and affectionate 
heart. — I hope sincerely, he may get safely over the 
breakers which beset his entrance into port, and when 
in — God grant the good old man a safe anchorage in still 
waters. . . . We have had a pleasing visit from 
Mr. Josiah Quincy — an old and valued friend — which 
to me was the most interesting incident of the week — 
Mrs. Clay's furniture is to be sold this week — the fair is 
to be this week — Mr. Danforth's new church is to be 
dedicated this week, and the Inauguration is to be next 
week — and then a general dispersion — Mrs. Clay, Mrs. 
Porter, Mrs. everbody I care for will be going — and 
such dreadful weather! ! ! 


[Washington,] Spring of 1829. 
. . . . Mr. Clay, has this winter, been such an 
object of interest to me, For to me intellectual power, is 
more facinating and interesting, than any other human 
endowment. And never in any individual have I met 
with so much, as in him. Yes, he has a natural, power 
and force of mind, beyond any I have ever witnessed. 
In Mr. Jefferson, Madison, Crawford, and other great 
men I have known, much of their intellectual strength, 
was derived from education and favoring circumstances, 
a combination of which carried them forward in the 
career of greatness and raised them to the elevation 
they attained. Not so Mr. Clay. Whatever he is, is all 
his own, inherent power, bestowed by nature and not 
derivative from cultivation or fortune. He has an elas- 
ticity and buoyancy of spirit, that no pressure of exter- 


nal circumstances, can confine or keep down. Nay, 
occasional depressions seem to give new vigour to this 
elastic power. For instance his late defeat. So far 
from disheartening, it has been positively exhilorating 
in its effects. He began to weary of the measures pur- 
sued in the last campaign, it closed, to be sure, in his 
defeat, but its termination freed him from weights and 
shackles, which had connections or duties, and like the 
Lyon, breaking the net, in which he had been entangled, 
he shakes from him all petty encumbrances and rises in 
all the majesty of intellectual power and invigorated 
resolution. He is a very great man. I have seen him, 
this winter, as a man, not a politician or stateman, but 
studied him, undisguised from any of the trappings of 
official form and conventional respect. Certainly, one 
of the most interesting days I have ever passed, was 
last Sunday. He and Mrs. Clay passed it with us. We 
had no other company to dinner, and I am certain he 
enjoyed being thus alone with a family he had known 
for 18 years, and feeling the triumph of personal regard, 
over the respect paid to office. He knew that for the 
last 8 years Mr. Smith had been his political opponent, 
and felt pleased with rinding himself treated with the 
cordiality of friendship, in such circumstances. Whether 
it was this, or any other cause, I know not, but whatever 
the cause might be, the effect was to produce an openness, 
communicativeness, an affectionateness and warmth and 
kindness which were irresistibly captivating. We lin- 
gered long round the dinner table. He and Mr. S. 
conversed on past times and characters, long since passed 
from the scene of action. In the afternoon and evening, 
Genl. McComb, Mr. Ward, Mr. Lyon (another domes- 
ticated beau) and several other gentlemen came in and 
until past 10 oclock at night the conversation flowed in 


an unbroken stream and if committed to writing would 
prove interesting to those yet unborn, for the topics were 
national, subjects suited for history. Mr. Clay was the 
chief speaker. He was animated by his heart as well 
as genius. Reclining on the sopha, from which he occa- 
sionally in the warmth of argument, would rise or stretch 
out his arm, his attitude as well as countenance would 
have made a fine picture. But enough of one individual. 
I will only add, if his health is restored, we will see him 
more efficiently active than ever. Elizabeth says you 
wish for a description of the Inauguration, and for some 
account of the new Cabinet, 1 of the President and his 
family. On these topics I have but little to say. Bayard 
will transmit to Sister Jane and she to you, my last long 
letter to him, containing a full account of that grand spec- 
tacle, for such it was, without the aid of splendid forms 
or costumes. Of the Cabinet, I can only say the Presi- 
dent's enemies are delighted and his friends grieved. 
It is supposed wholly inefficient, and even Van Buren, 
altho' a profound politician is not supposed to be an able 
statesman, or to possess qualifications for the place as- 
signed him. Yet on him, all rests. Mr. Ingham, is the 
only member with whom we are personally acquainted, 
— him we have known long and well. He is a good 
man, of unimpeachable and unbending integrity. But 
no one imagines him possessed of that comprehensiveness 
and grasp of mind, requisite for the duties of his new 
office. He will be faithful, this, no one doubts. Whether 
he will be capable, experience only can show. Of the 
others, we know absolutely nothing, the people know 
nothing, and of course can feel little confidence. As for 

1 Martin Van Buren, Secretary of State; Samuel D. Ingham of Pennsyl- 
vania, Secretary of the Treasury; John H. Eaton of Tennessee, Secretary 
of War; John Branch of North Carolina, Secretary of the Navy; John H. 
Berrien of Georgia, Attorney General. 


the new Lady, 1 Elizabeth enquires of after a thousand 
rumours and much tittle-tattle and gosip and prophesy- 
ings and apprehensions, public opinion ever just and im- 
partial, seems to have triumphed over personal feelings 
and intrigues and finally doomed her to continue in her 
pristine lowly condition. A stand, a noble stand, I may 
say, since it is a stand taken against power and favor- 
itism, has been made by the ladies of Washington, and 
not even the President's wishes, in favour of his dearest, 
personal friend, can influence them to violate the respect 
due to virtue, by visiting one, who has left her strait and 
narrow path. With the exception of two or three timid 
and rather insignificant personages, who trembled for 
their husband's offices, not a lady has visited her, and 
so far from being inducted into the President's house, 
she is, I am told scarcely noticed by the females of his 
family. On the Inauguration day, when they went in 
company with the Vice-President's lady, the lady of the 
Secretary of the Treasury and those of two distinguished 
Jacksonian Senators, Hayne and Livingston, 2 this New 
Lady never approached the party, either in the Senate 
chamber, at the President's house, where by the Presi- 
dent's express request, they went to receive the com- 
pany, nor at night at the Inaugural Ball. On these 
three public occasions she was left alone, and kept at a 
respectful distance from these virtuous and distinguished 
women, with the sole exception of a seat at the supper- 
table, where, however, notwithstanding her proximity, 

1 The famous Peggy O'Neil, daughter of a tavern keeper in Washington, 
widow of a paymaster in the navy, and now bride of the Secretary of War, 
a fine appearing woman, whose reputation had unfortunately for her been 
made in Washington. Van Buren was the only man who stood by her. 
She was finally driven out and her husband left the Cabinet. 

2 Robert Y. Hayne of South Carolina, anything but a Jacksonian when 
the nullification issue came up, and Edward Livingston, then a Represen- 
tative from Louisiana, soon to be a Senator, then Secretary of State and 
finally minister to France. 


she was not spoken to by them. These are facts you 
may rely on, not rumours — facts, greatly to the honor of 
our sex. When you see Miss Morris, she will give you 
details, which it would not be proper to commit to writing. 
She and I have become very social and intimate and 
have seen each other often. I hope she will call on you 
and talk over Washington affairs. Dear Mrs. Porter, 
her departure cost me some bitter tears. And so did 
good Mrs. Clay's. Mrs. Ingham professes a desire to 
be very social with me, "the oldest friend," as she says 
her husband has in the city, but a friend of 18 years is 
a thing I shall never make now, it is too late in the day. 
We visited the President and his family a few days since, 
in the big house. Mr. Smith introduced us and asked 
for the General. Our names were sent in and he joined 
the ladies in the drawing-room. I shall like him if ever 
I know him, I am sure, — so simple, frank, friendly. He 
looks bowed down with grief as well as age and that idea 
excited my sympathy, his pew in church is behind ours, 
his manner is humble and reverent and most attentive. 
Mrs. Sanford 1 and I interchanged several visits and 
she passed an evening with us, but she did not interest 
me. For your sake, dear Maria, I will visit Mrs. Hamil- 
ton, tho' I have resisted many inducements to make new 
acquaintances. I have too many already. But I shall 
drop most of them when I return into the country, then 
I shall regain my freedom, and do as I like. The last 
six weeks have been far less gay, but much more interest- 
ing than the first part of the season. We went less 
out and had less company at home. Mr. W.'s daily 
visits, Mr. Wood's and Mr. Lyon's, almost as frequent, 
and the new books they brought us, fitted up our even- 
ings far more pleasantly than common-place visitants. 
1 Wife of Nathan Sanford of Albany, Senator from New York. 


Mr. Wood, who is goodness personified, remains, he is 
our fellow citizen, and we look for his smiling benevo- 
lent countenance, daily as the evening returns. Mrs. 
Thornton has been very ill and I have been a great 
deal with her. Dear Mrs. Bradley has gone, and she 
went rejoicing to a better world. Capt. Tingey too. 
Our first kind friend and acquaintance. Mrs. Clay is 
as much lost to me as if separated by death, and Mrs. 
Porter. For ten days I was taken up with sick and 
dying, and departing friends. The last two weeks have 
been melancholy weeks to me. Judge Southard con- 
tinues too ill to move, his little daughter is ill too, their 
furniture is all sold, and it is melancholy to visit them, 
but it is a duty I often perform. Mr. Wirt's family go 
in a few weeks. Mr. Rush, it is said, is to be sent to 
England by the Canal-company, with a good salary, and 
the family are in good spirits. Mrs. Calhoun goes home, 
not to return again, at least for 4 years. Mrs. Ingham 
will not be back until autumn. All our citizens are 
trembling for fear of losing offices. Mrs. Seaton is very 
ill. Gales and Seaton, I fear ruined. In fact never 
did I witness such a gloomy time in Washington. I 
hope things will brighten. My paper is full. 


[Washington] March nth, Sunday [1829.] 
. . . . Thursday morning. I left the rest of this 
sheet for an account of the inauguration. It was not a 
thing of detail of a succession of small incidents. No, 
it was one grand whole, an imposing and majestic spec- 
tacle and to a reflective mind one of moral sublimity. 
Thousands and thousands of people, without distinction 
of rank, collected in an immense mass round the Capitol, 


silent, orderly and tranquil, with their eyes fixed on the 
front of that edifice, waiting the appearance of the 
President in the portico. The door from the Rotunda 
opens, preceded by the marshals, surrounded by the 
Judges of the Supreme Court, the old man with his grey 
locks, that crown of glory, advances, bows to the peo- 
ple, who greet him with a shout that rends the air, the 
Cannons, from the heights around, from Alexandria 
and Fort Warburton proclaim the oath he has taken and 
all the hills reverberate the sound. It was grand, — it 
was sublime ! An almost breathless silence, succeeded 
and the multitude was still, — listening to catch the 
sound of his voice, tho' it was so low, as to be heard 
only by those nearest to him. After reading his speech, 
the oath was administered to him by the Chief Justice. 
The Marshal presented the Bible. The President took 
it from his hands, pressed his lips to it, laid it reverently 
down, then bowed again to the people — Yes, to the peo- 
ple in all their majesty. And had the spectacle closed 
here, even Europeans must have acknowledged that a 
free people, collected in their might, silent and tranquil, 
restrained solely by a moral power, without a shadow 
around of military force, was majesty, rising to sub- 
limity, and far surpassing the majesty of Kings and 
Princes, surrounded with armies and glittering in gold. 
But I will not anticipate, but will give you an account of 
the inauguration in mere detail. The whole of the pre- 
ceding day, immense crowds were coming into the city 
from all parts, lodgings could not be obtained, and the 
newcomers had to go to George Town, which soon over- 
flowed and others had to go to Alexandria. I was told 
the Avenue and adjoining streets were so crowded on 
Tuesday afternoon that it was difficult to pass. 

A national salute was fired early in the morning, and 


ushered in the 4th of March. By ten oclock the Avenue 
was crowded with carriages of every description, from 
the splendid Barronet and coach, down to waggons and 
carts, rilled with women and children, some in finery and 
some in rags, for it was the peoples President, and all 
would see him ; the men all walked. Julia, Anna Maria 
and I, (the other girls would not adventure) accompanied 
by Mr. Wood, set off before 11, and followed the living 
stream that was pouring along to the Capitol. The 
terraces, the Balconies, the Porticos, seemed as we 
approached already filled. We rode round the whole 
square, taking a view of the animated scene. Then 
leaving the carriage outside the palisades, we entered the 
enclosed grounds, where we were soon joined by John 
Cranet and another gentleman, which offered each of 
us a protector. We walked round the terrace several 
times, every turn meeting new groups of ladies and 
gentlemen whom we knew. All with smiling faces. The 
day was warm and delightful, from the South Terrace 
we had a view of Pennsylvania and Louisiana Avenues, 
crowded with people hurrying towards the Capitol. It 
was a most exhilirating scene ! Most of the ladies pre- 
ferred being inside of the Capitol and the eastern portico, 
damp and cold as it was, had been filled from 9 in the 
morning by ladies who wished to be near the General 
when he spoke. Every room was filled and the win- 
dows crowded. But as so confined a situation allowed 
no general view, we would not coop ourselves up, and 
certainly enjoyed a much finer view of the spectacle, 
both in its whole and in its details, than those within the 
walls. We stood on the South steps of the terrace ; when 
the appointed hour came saw the General and his com- 
pany advancing up the Avenue, slow, very slow, so im- 
peded was his march by the crowds thronging around 


him. Even from a distance, he could be discerned from 
those who accompanied him, for he only was uncovered, 
(the Servant in presence of his Sovereign, the People). 
The south side of the Capitol hill was literally alive with 
the multitude, who stood ready to receive the hero and 
the multitude who attended him. 'There, there, that is 
he," exclaimed different voices. "Which?" asked others. 
"He with the white head," was the reply. "Ah," ex- 
claimed others, "there is the old man and his gray hair, 
there is the old veteran, there is Jackson." At last he 
enters the gate at the foot of the hill and turns to the 
road that leads round to the front of the Capitol. In 
a moment every one who until then had stood like statues 
gazing on the scene below them, rushed onward, to right, 
to left, to be ready to receive him in the front. Our 
party, of course, were more deliberate, we waited until 
the multitude had rushed past us and then left the 
terrace and walked round to the furthest side of the 
square, where there were no carriages to impede us, 
and entered it by the gate fronting the Capitol. Here 
was a clear space, and stationing ourselves on the cen- 
tral gravel walk we stood so as to have a clear, full view 
of the whole scene. The Capitol in all its grandeur and 
beauty. The Portico and grand steps leading to it, were 
filled with ladies. Scarlet, purple, blue, yellow, white 
draperies and waving plumes of every kind and colour, 
among the white marble pillars, had a fine effect. In 
the centre of the portico was a table covered with scar- 
let, behind it the closed door leading into the rotunda, 
below the Capitol and all around, a mass of living beings, 
not a ragged mob, but well dressed and well behaved 
respectable and worthy citizens. Mr. Frank Key, whose 
arm I had, and an old and frequent witness of great spec- 
tacles, often exclaimed, as well as myself, a mere novice, 


"It is beautiful, it is sublime!" The sun had been ob- 
scured through the morning by a mist, or haziness. But 
the concussion in the air, produced by the discharge of 
the cannon, dispersed it and the sun shone forth in all 
his brightness. At the moment the General entered the 
Portico and advanced to the table, the shout that rent 
the air, still resounds in my ears. When the speech was 
over, and the President made his parting bow, the bar- 
rier that had separated the people from him was broken 
down and they rushed up the steps all eager to shake 
hands with him. It was with difficulty he made his way 
through the Capitol and down the hill to the gateway 
that opens on the avenue. Here for a moment he was 
stopped. The living mass was impenetrable. After a 
while a passage was opened, and he mounted his horse 
which had been provided for his return (for he had 
walked to the Capitol) then such a cortege as followed 
him! Country men, farmers, gentlemen, mounted and 
dismounted, boys, women and children, black and white. 
Carriages, wagons and carts all pursuing him to the 
President's house, — this I only heard of for our party 
went out at the opposite side of the square and went to 
Col. Benton's lodgings, to visit Mrs. Benton and Mrs. 
Gilmore. Here was a perfect levee, at least a hundred 
ladies and gentlemen, all happy and rejoicing, — wine 
and cake was handed in profusion. We sat with this 
company and stopped on the summit of the hill un- 
til the avenue was comparatively clear, tho' at any 
other time we should have thought it terribly crowded. 
Streams of people on foot and of carriages of all kinds, 
still pouring towards the President's house. We went 
Home, found your papa and sisters at the Bank, 1 stand- 

1 Branch Bank of the United States of which Mr. Smith was president. 
It stood at the corner of 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. 


ing at the upper windows, where they had been seen 
by the President, who took off his hat to them, which 
they insisted was better than all we had seen. From 
the Bank to the President's house for a long while, the 
crowd rendered a passage for us impossible. Some went 
into the Cashier's parlour, where we found a number 
of ladies and gentlemen and had cake and wine in 
abundance. In about an hour, the pavement was clear 
enough for us to walk. Your father, Mr. Wood, Mr. 
Ward, Mr. Lyon, with us, we set off to the President's 
House, but on a nearer approach found an entrance im- 
possible, the yard and avenue was compact with living 
matter. The day was delightful, the scene animating, 
so we walked backward and forward at every turn meet- 
ing some new acquaintance and stopping to talk and 
shake hands. Among others we met Zavr. Dickinson 
with Mr. Frelinghuysen and Dr. Elmendorf, and Mr. 
Saml Bradford. We continued promenading here, until 
near three, returned home unable to stand and threw 
ourselves on the sopha. Some one came and informed 
us the crowd before the President's house, was so far 
lessen'd, that they thought we might enter. This time 
we effected our purpose. But what a scene did we wit- 
ness ! The Majesty of the People had disappeared, and 
a rabble, a mob, of boys, negros, women, children, 
scrambling righting, romping. What a pity what a pity ! 
No arrangements had been made no police officers 
placed on duty and the whole house had been inundated 
by the rabble mob. We came too late. The President, 
after having been literally nearly pressed to death and 
almost suffocated and torn to pieces by the people in their 
eagerness to shake hands with Old Hickory, had re- 
treated through the back way or south front and had 
escaped to his lodgings at Gadsby's. Cut glass and 


china to the amount of several thousand dollars had been 
broken in the struggle to get the refreshments, punch 
and other articles had been carried out in tubs and 
buckets, but had it been in hogsheads it would have 
been insufficient, ice-creams, and cake and lemonade, for 
20,000 people, for it is said that number were there, 
tho' I think the estimate exaggerated. Ladies fainted, 
men were seen with bloody noses and such a scene of 
confusion took place as is impossible to describe, — those 
who got in could not get out by the door again, but had 
to scramble out of windows. At one time, the President 
who had retreated and retreated until he was pressed 
against the wall, could only be secured by a number of 
gentlemen forming round him and making a kind of 
barrier of their own bodies, and the pressure was so 
great that Col Bomford who was one said that at 
one time he was afraid they should have been pushed 
down, or on the President. It was then the windows 
were thrown open, and the torrent found an outlet, 
which otherwise might have proved fatal. 

This concourse had not been anticipated and therefore 
not provided against. Ladies and gentlemen, only had 
been expected at this Levee, not the people en masse. 
But it was the People's day, and the People's President 
and the People would rule. God grant that one day or 
other, the People, do not put down all rule and rulers. 
I fear, enlightened Freemen as they are, they will be 
found, as they have been found in all ages and countries 
where they get the Power in their hands, that of all 
tyrants, they are the most ferocious, cruel and despotic. 
The nosiy and disorderly rabble in the President's House 
brought to my mind descriptions I had read, of the mobs 
in the Tuileries and at Versailles, I expect to hear 


the carpets and furniture are ruined, the streets were 
muddy, and these guests all went thither on foot. 

The rest of the day, overcome with fatigue I lay 
upon the sopha. The girls went to see Mrs. Clay and 
Mrs. Southard. Mrs. Rush was at Mrs. C.'s — Mrs. 
Clay's furniture all sold, the entry full of hay, straw, 
and packages, and in her little back room, scarcely a 
chair to sit on and she worn out with fatigue. "This 
being turned out, is a sad, troublesome thing, is it not?" 
said Mrs. Rush. "Coming in, is troublesome enough, 
but then, one does not mind the trouble.' ' 

After tea, Mr. Ward, Mr. Wood, Mr. Lyon, and 
Warren Scott, came in and staid until past 11 oclock. 
Mr. S. and I talked of Brunswick friends and of old 
times. Col. Bomford has been here, just now and given 
me an account of the Ball, which he says was elegant, 
splendid and in perfect order. The President and his 
family were not there. The Vice President and lady 
and the members of the new cabinet were. Mrs. Bom- 
ford was in her grand costume, — scarlet velvet richly 
trimmed with gold embroidery, the large Ruby, set in 
diamonds, for which Col. Bomford has refused five 
thousand dollars, and which I believe you have seen, she 
wore in her turban. Mr. Baldwin, 1 notwithstanding his 
disappointment, for he confidently expected a place in 
the Cabinet, was, Col B. says, excessively merry. Dur- 
ing all this bustle in the city, Mr. Adams was quietly 
fixed at Meridian Hill, to which place he and his family 
had removed some days before. . . . Everybody 
is in a state of agitation, — gloomy or glad. A uni- 
versal removal in the departments is apprehended, and 
many are quaking and trembling, where all depends on 
their places. 

1 Henry Baldwin of Pennsylvania. He was appointed a Judge of the 
Supreme Court in 1830. 


The city, so crowded and bustling, by tomorrow will 
be silent and deserted, for people are crowding away as 
eagerly as they crowded here. Mrs. Porter goes on 
Saturday, Mrs. Clay on Monday, Mrs. Wirt and Southard 
in the course of the week. We are asked to a party at 
Mrs. Wirt's tonight, but shall not go, — the funeral of 
the morning leaves us no disposition for company. 


[Washington,] March 12th, 1829. 
The winter campaign is over — the tents are struck 
and the different parties are leaving the field — Congress 
has adjourned — and the hosts of strangers who but a 
few days ago, swarmed our streets and crowded the 
public houses, are gone too — the bustle of a busy throng 
— the rolling of many carriages have ceased and the 
busy and animated scene, is comparatively silent and 
deserted. . . . Our friends, too, Mrs. Porter, Mrs. 
Clay, and many others are gone or going, and these con- 
tinual partings with those we love and esteem, have 
thrown a sadness over the last week, that I in vain try 
to dispel. Never before did the city seem to me so 
gloomy — so many changes in society — so many families 
broken up, and those of the first distinction and who gave 
a tone to society. Those elegantly furnished houses, 
stripped of their splendid furniture — that furniture ex- 
posed to public sale. Those drawing-rooms, brilliantly 
illuminated, in which I have so often mixed with gay 
crowds, distinguished by rank, fashion, beauty, talent — 
resounding with festive sounds — now, empty, silent, 
dark, dismantled. Oh! tis melancholy! Mrs. Clay's, 
Mrs. Porter's, Mrs. Southard's houses exhibit this spec- 


tacle — They are completely stripped — the furniture all 
sold — the families, for the few days they remained after 
the sale — uncomfortably crowded in one little room. 
The door shut on company and only one or two inti- 
mate friends admitted — Nor does the Entry, of the tri- 
umphant party, relieve this universal gloom — Alas! it 
only adds to it — General Jackson's family in deep 
mourning — secludes them from society, — they are not 
known, or seen, except at formal morning visits — They 
quietly took possession of the big house, where if they 
choose they may remain invisible, and as much sepa- 
rated from social intercourse, as if on the other side of 
the mountains — But what most adds to the general 
gloom — is the rumour of a general proscription — Every 
individual connected with the government, from the 
highest officer to the lowest clerk, is filled with appre- 
hension. Men whose all depends on the decision, await 
it in fear and trembling — Oh how dreadfully must a 
parent feel, when he looks on his children gathered 
round him, and knows that one word spoken by a 
stranger, may reduce them to beggary — Such is the sit- 
uation of hundreds at the present moment — and of men 
too far advanced in life, to be able to enter on new 
paths of industry. Last Sunday Mr. and Mrs. Clay 
passed with us, in a social, domestic manner — Never 
did I see this great man, (for in native point of mind, I 
never knew his equal) so interesting — nay fascinating. 
I had heard of his possessing this power of captivation, 
which no one who was its object could resist, and I have 
before seen and felt its influence, but never in the same 
degree, as on this occasion. At dinner he sat next to 
your father, next to one he knew to be opposed to his 
late political course and whom for many years he had, 
consequently, seldom seen, but the little differences of 


party were forgotten; the patriot to the patriot, who, 
however they might differ in the means, had the same 
end in view. Meeting on this common ground and 
avoiding the late field of combat they conversed on gen- 
eral yet interesting subjects, connected with past events. 
The characters and administrations of Jefferson and 
Madison were analized, and many private anecdotes 
were drawn from the memory of each. Mr. Clay pre- 
ferred Madison, and pronounced him after Washington 
our greatest statesman, and first political writer — He 
thought Jefferson had most genius — Madison most 
judgment and common sense — Jefferson a visionary and 
theorist, often betrayed by his enthusiasm into rash and 
imprudent and impracticable measures, Madison cool, 
dispassionate, practical, safe. Your father, would not 
yield Jefferson's superiority and said he possessed a 
power and energy, which carried our country through 
difficulties and dangers; far beyond the power of Mad- 
ison's less energetic character. "Prudence and caution 
— would have produced the same results," insisted Mr. 
Clay. After drawing a parellel between these great 
men, and taking an historic survey of their political lives, 
they both met on the same point, viz. that both were 
great and good, and tho' different, — yet equal — We lin- 
gered long around the table, after dinner was removed, 
listening to this interesting conversation. — When we 
returned to the parlour Mr. Clay left us, to take his usual 
walk, and Mr. Ward, Mr. Lyon, and General McComb 
unexpectedly entered — The weather without was 
gloomy, cold and cloudy, but the circle around our bright 
fire, was not only cheerful but gay and witty. It was 
twilight — rather fire-light when Mr. Clay returned — 
Anna Maria relinquished to him, his favorite seat on the 
sofa, on which he threw himself, reclining, rather than 

i8a 9 ] CLAY AT HIS EASE 301 

sitting — How graceful he looked ! — his face was flushed 
with exercise and his countenance animated with some 
strong emotion. After a while without any previous 
observation, half rising from his recumbent position, and 
stretching out his arm, "There is not," said he, "at Cairo 
or Constantinople, a greater moral despotism than is at 
this moment exercised in this city over public opinion. 
Why a man dare not avow what he thinks or feels, or 
shake hands with a personal friend, if he happens to 
differ from the powers that be. ,, I shook my head ob- 
serving, "Not all, Mr. Clay." "Yes, a///' said he, "who 
have anything to lose — and I should not this day be in 
your house, if Mr. Smith was not safely laid up in the 
Bank." — We all laughed, while I replied "You would not 
say so, if you believed so Mr. Clay" — "If the fact were 
true," said your father, in his sternest manner "such 
men deserve to lose their places, and I would have them 
all turned out"— "Oh, Mr. Smith" replied Mr. Clay, his 
countenance, his manner, his voice softening into the 
most tender and persuasive expression "Oh, Mr. Smith 
— we must forgive them — remember they suffer not 
alone — their families, their children — think of them, and 
who is there would not excuse their timidity." Lan- 
guage cannot describe the manner and look with which 
this was said — No doubt, his first remark, was elicited, 
by some neglect he himself had felt, during his walk — 
but how soon was momentary indignation conquered by 
generous and tender feelings — He has from nature a 
fund of tenderness and sensibility, which even ambition, 
that all-absorbing passion, has not had power to dry 
up — "The politician has no heart" says Sallust then, even 
yet, Henry Clay, is not a thorough politician, for on 
many an occasion have I witnessed the irrepressible ten- 
derness of a feeling heart — Never can I forget the tears 


he shed, over his dying infant, as it lay in my lap, and he 
kneeled by my side — With what deep tenderness did he 
gaze on it, until, unable to witness its last agonies, he 
impressed a long tender kiss on its pale lips — murmur- 
ing out "Farewell, my little one" — and left the chamber 
— and the next morning when obliged to speak to me 
about the funeral, he walked the room, for some time, 
in mournful silence, as if struggling to compose his feel- 
ings, so as to be able to give his directions with calm- 
ness — "My only difficulty" said he at length, "is to de- 
cide on what is my duty — I would fain remain at home 
this morning — but I believe it will not do — I have no 
right to allow private concerns to interfere with public 
duty — No — I must go to the House," (he was then 
Speaker) I combatted this, and told him I was certain 
the members would not expect him — He still walked the 
room in doubt how to act — when the Sergeant at Arms 
was announced, and on his entrance, brought him the 
condolence of the House, and an offer, if he wished it, 
of attending the funeral — "Thank the gentlemen for me, 
and tell them I am truly grateful for their indulgence in 
excusing my attendance this morning — beyond this I 
have nothing to wish and beg they will not put them- 
selves to inconvenience — it is an infant — and I wish only 
the attendance of my family, and the few friends who 
are with us." — -This winter, when he first learnt the 
result of the election, instead of depression of spirit his 
mind seemed inspired with new vigour and animation as 
if relieved from some heavy burthen — suspense was over 
— and to a person of his nature, ardent, restless temper- 
ament, suspense is the least endurable of all sufferings — 
New scenes, new projects opened on his view — like a 
wrestler, who had been thrown, but not disabled, he 
started up, shook off the dust, and wiped off the sweat of 

i8 29 ] CLAY'S HIGH SPIRIT 303 

the first conflict, and gathering up new strength and reso- 
lution — prepared for another combat for the prize of 
glory — Such has he seemed to me, since the election was 
decided — more elastic, more vigorous, more high 
spirited — and I verily believe he is actually happier than 
if calmly and securely seated in the presidential chair — 
for then there would be none of the activity, energy, and 
power of conflict brought into play — excitement is as 
necessary to his moral, as stimulus is to his physical ex- 
istence — Henry Clay was made for action — not for rest. 
— Such was the result of his political affliction — How dif- 
ferent its effects from those of private, domestic sorrow ! 
— When he heard of the excesses of a profligate but still 
beloved son — when he heard that son was in prison — 
his heart sunk within him — disease was increased by 
distress — health and rest forsook him — I alluded to this 
in a former letter — the circumstance was then a secret, 
and I told you not of it — since, I have discovered it to be 
generally known, and therefore tell it you. — For several 
weeks Mr. Clay told me, sleep totally forsook him, and 
he could procure none but through the aid of anodynes.- 
It was a knowledge of this secret sorrow, at the time of 
the last Drawing-room that so tenderly excited my sym- 
pathy, that I had to retreat to a corner to conceal tears 
I could not repress — (but I believe it was to your aunt, 
and not to you I described that scene) — When I am writ- 
ing on a subject that interests me I cannot stop my pen. 
— but from this long digression, let me try and get back 
to our own fireside, and the admiring circle that sur- 
rounded Mr. Clay — So interesting was his conversation, 
so captivating his frank cordial manner, that I could 
almost have said with Mr. Lyon — "I could have listened 
all night, and many nights with delight" — and with Mr. 
Ward have exclaimed "What a treat! It is indeed the 


feast of reason, and the flow of soul." — Washington, 
Jefferson, Hamilton, Burr, and many other conspicuous 
actors in our National drama were the subjects of dis- 
cussion — not only their character, but their actions, and 
their motive of action — To read history, is cold, stale, 
and unprofitable, compared with hearing it — the elo- 
quence of language, is enforced by eloquence of the soul- 
speaking eye and persuasive voice — It was past ten 
o'clock before Mrs. Clay, usually so early in her hours, 
rose to depart — Altogether, this day and evening have 
been the most interesting that have occurred this win- 
ter — Yesterday, your father accompanied us on a visit 
to our new President — I imagine we were the only 
ladies, who had not, long before hastened to wait on his 
family — but I felt too much on losing my old friends, to 
be in haste to pay my respects to their successors — After 
sitting awhile with Miss Easton, Mr. Smith asked if the 
President saw ladies — She said she would inquire, and 
left the room for that purpose — In a few minutes after 
she sent our names, General Jackson entered. Mr. S. 
introduced us, and he shook hands cordially with each 
of us. I asked very frankly of his being unwell, and at- 
tributed his indisposition to having too much to do — 
the Senate being impatient to rise, and he consequently 
having to work night as well as day. Was not this frank 
— He shook hands again with each when we went, and 
I must say I was much pleased — A carriage — interrupted 
— Tuesday 17th. 

Two days have passed since I commenced this letter, 
during which nothing interesting has occurred — All the 
citizens, more or less, have been engaged in the bustle of 
the winter, and are glad of quiet — at least all that I 
know — There is a complete cessation of parties and visit- 
ing — the weather has been bad, another cause for staying 


at home — I have enjoyed this quiet, read and written 
more the last week, than in a whole month, before — 
We shall remove into the country the beginning of next 
month, if the weather allows when will you be here? 


[Washington] [1829] 

. . . . Mr. Campbell 1 seldom visits us. His mind 
seems wholly engaged with his affair with Mrs. E. 
[aton] — he has injudicious friends who keep alive his 
irritation of mind and temper and are urging him on to 
make an Exposee of facts which tho' they would free him 
from the imputation of a false calumniater, would em- 
broil him with the present party, throw him into the arms 
of the opposition and in fact make a political tool of 
him. The facts he possesses might ruin (it is said) the 
Seer, and his wife, but what then. Would it raise him 
in public estimation and thereby increase his usefulness? 
I think not, and have said so to him, and by so doing, 
show less sympathy in his excited feelings, than those 
who appear to enter so warmly into his interests and 
urge him to publish a book, while in fact I believe they 
use him, to promote their own views. 

Mrs. E. continues excluded from society, except the 
houses of some of the foreigners, the President's and 
Mr. V. B.'s. The Dutch Minister's family have openly 
declared against her admission into society. The other 
evening at a grand fete at the Russian Minister's Mrs. 
E. was led first to the supper table, in consequence of 
which Mrs. Madm. Heugans and family would not go 
to the table and was quite enraged, — for the whole week 

1 George W. Campbell of Tennessee was not in office at this time, nor 
did he attain national prominence again. 


you heard of scarcely anything else. And it is generally 
asserted that if Mr. V. B. our Seer, persists in visiting 
her, our ladies will not go to his house. We shall 
see. . . . 


[Sidney] Tuesday, Aug. 16, 1829. 
. . . . Tell him I am really surprised he has not 
come on to see his President. I can not take to the new 
folks. The Presd. and his family sit in the pew behind 
us, and I often have the pleasure of pinching his fingers, 
as he has the habit of laying his hand on the side of the 
pew and I have the habit of leaning back. The first two 
or three times of his coming to church, he bowed and I 
curtisied after church, and the same with the ladies, but 
now we never look at each other. Neither Mr. S. or I 
have ever called but once at the White-House and be- 
sides representation (we are told) has been made that Mr. 
S. is a Clayite, so that we are not in favour at court, and 
as little acquainted with the other members of the ad- 
ministration. Those citizens who wished for an ac- 
quaintance, obtained it very easily, for never before was 
the Palace so accessible, — persons of all ranks visit very 
sociably I am told, and in return the family accept all in- 
vitations and visit the citizens in the most social manner, 
and live on more equal and familiar terms, than any other 
Presd. family ever has. All my sympathies attach me to 
the ex-party. 


[Washington] Thursday, 27, Nover. 1829. 
. . . . From mere curiosity I have commenced an 
account of our visitors and every morning set down the 
number of the previous day. It is three weeks since I 

i8a 9 ] JACKSON PAYS A CALL 307 

began and the number already amounts to 197, — not all 
different individuals, but the aggregate of each days 
visitors, who are often the same persons. We have at 
least 6 or 7 young gentlemen friends, who are fre- 
quently with us. An accidental concurence of circum- 
stances has obliged us to have more invited company 
within this period, than we generally have within treble 
that time. Mrs. Randolph I believe I told you was set- 
tled among us and very near our house. I see her almost 
daily, and feel it incumbent upon me, in her present 
altered condition, to pay her every possible attention. I 
therefore had a party for her, wishing to make known 
to her and her to them, my most agreeable acquaintances. 
On this occasion I opened both rooms and did my best to 
give her an agreeable party. Then came Mr. Biddle, 
President of the Bank, and Mr. Smith had to give him 
a dinner party. (I would rather give a dozen evening 
parties.) To this we asked Mr. Gallatin and some of the 
members of the Cabinet. Mr. Berrian, whom we all ad- 
mire, nay almost love, was one. Truly he is a most 
charming man. We shall, I expect, be quite social neigh- 
bors, as Mr. Smith is as much taken with him as any 
of us 

Dear Mrs. Randolf! How I wish my dear sisters 
that you knew her. Whenever she has visits to return, 
I call for and accompany her. Several mornings have 
been thus engaged. Yesterday I went with her to the 
President's to introduce her to Mrs. Donaldson. 1 She 
was very much affected on entering the house, and with 
tender emotion pointed out to her daughter, the differ- 
ent apartments. "That was my dear Father's cabinet, 
that, his favorite sitting room, that — was my chamber 
and that, girls, was your nursery." Thus, as we passed 

1 Wife of Andrew Jackson Donelson, the President's private Secretary. 


through the Hall and long passages, to the Lady's draw- 
ing-room on the second floor, did she designate each 
room. When we were going away, I enquired of Mrs. 
Donaldson, whether we could look into the East-Room, 
she answered in the affirmative and had she known a 
little more of the usages of good society, she would have 
accompanied Mrs. R. to that and other apartments. But 
she let her go without this attention. Mrs. Donaldson 
had previously called on Mrs. Randolph, not waiting for 
the first visit. The President too, called to see her, in 
all due form, the Seer, of State wrote a note to Mr. 
Triste enquiring of him, if Mrs. Randolf would be at 
home at such an hour, on such a morning, when, if at 
home, the President would do himself the pleasure of 
waiting on her. And so he did, accompanied by the 
Seer, of State. He demonstrated great kindness and ex- 
pressed his hopes that she would be a frequent visitor at 
his house. The next day the ladies of his family called 
on her. She has been very generally visited and her visit- 
ing list is filled as fast as she empties it. I shall as far 
as is in my power give her the use of our carriage and do 
every thing I can to prove the tender regard and high 
esteem I feel for her. 


[Washington] Deer 27, 1829. 
. . . . She 1 and Mrs. Randolph are the only 
women here, with whom I wish, in addition to my old 
friends, Mrs. Thornton and Bomford, to cultivate an in- 
timate acquaintance. Mrs. Randolph and her family I 
see almost daily. The round of company in which she 
has been involved lately has made her sick. I passed part 

*Mrs. Rush. 


of a morning this week by her bed-side. Some reference 
was made to Monticello. Her father's image which is 
seldom absent from her mind, was thus recalled. "This" 
said she, taking up the down cover-lit, which was over 
her, "was the one he used for 40 yrs. and this bed was 
his." — The one, I imagine, on which his last hours were 
past, for she stopped, choked by emotion and could not 
restrain her tears, tho' she concealed them by drawing 
the bedclothes over her face. 

Never have I known of a union between any two 
beings so perfect as that which almost identified this 
father and daughter. I am sure you would love Mrs. 
R., — so soft, gentle, mild and affectionate, in disposi- 
tion, voice, and manners, with a mind so refined and culti- 
vated and a character firm and energetic. It is a pity 
that her extreme modesty throws a veil over her virtues 
and talents, which is withdrawn only by great intimacy. 
She has been treated with the greatest attention and re- 
spect by all the citizens as well as the officials. When 
she dined at Mr. V. B.'s he led her first to the table, even 
before the ladies of the President's family, and at the 
President's house, Genl. Jackson led her before the Sena- 
tor's or Seers, ladies. And as our system of etiquette 
is more rigidly observed than it ever was before, Mrs. R. 
is thus placed at the head of society. 


[Washington,] Janur. 26. 1830. 

. . . . The wind is blowing high and cold, the 

streets filled with clouds of dust. We have had no 

weather all winter so cold. I have fixed myself close 

by a blazing fire to write to you this morning without 


much fear of being interrupted, for almost everyone 
is thronging to the capitol to hear Mr. Webster's reply 
to Col. Hayne's 1 attack on him and his party. A de- 
bate on any political principle would have had no such 
attraction. But personalities are irrisistible. It is a 
kind of moral gladiatorship, in which characters are torn 
to pieces, and arrows, yes, poisoned arrows, which tho' 
not seen, are deeply felt, are hurled by the combatants 
against each other. The Senate chamber, is the pres- 
ent arena and never were the amphitheatres of Rome 
more crowded by the highest ranks of both sexes than 
the senate chamber is. Every seat, every inch of ground, 
even the steps, were compactly filled, and yet not space 
enough for the ladies — the Senators were obliged to 
relinquish their chairs of State to the fair auditors who 
literally sat in the Senate. One lady sat in Col. Hayne's 
seat, while he stood by her side speaking. I cannot 
but regret that this dignified body should become such 
a scene of personality and popular resort, it was sup- 
posed yesterday that there were 300 ladies besides their 
attendant beaux on the floor of the Senate. The two 
galleries were crowded to overflowing with the People, 
and the house of Reprs. quite deserted. Our govern- 
ment is becoming every day more and more democratic, 
the rulers of the people are truly their servants and 
among those rulers women are gaining more than their 
share of power. One woman has made sad work here; 
to be, or not to be, her friend is the test of Presidential 
favour. Mr. V. B. sided with her and is consequently 
the right hand man, the constant riding, walking and 
visiting companion. The P and his friend Genl. 

1 The great debate between Webster and Hayne took place January 
1 5-26, and on the day Mrs. Smith wrote Webster delivered his most famous 

i8 3 o] GOV. BRANCH'S "CRUSH PARTY" 311 

E., while the other members of the cabinet, are looked 
on coldly — some say unkindly and enjoy little share in 
the councils of state. Mr. Calhoun, Ingham, his de- 
voted friend, Branch and Berrian form one party, the 
Prd., V. B., Genl. E. and Mr. Bary 1 the other. It is 
generally supposed that, as they cannot sit together, some 
change in the Cabinet must take place. Meanwhile, the 
lady who caused this division, is forced notwithstanding 
the support and favour of such high personages to with- 
draw from society. She is not received in any private 
parties, and since the 8th of January has withdrawn 
from public assemblies. At the ball given on that oc- 
casion, she was treated with such marked and universal 
neglect and indignity, that she will not expose herself 
again to such treatment. Genl. E., unable to clear his 
wife's fair fame, has taken his revenge by blackening 

that of other ladies, one of whose husbands ( ) has 

resented it in such a manner, that it was universally be- 
lieved he would receive a challenge. But Genl. E. has 
very quietly pocketed the abuse lavished on him. This 
affair was for two weeks the universal topic of conversa- 
tion. Mr. Campbell, as the original cause of all this up- 
roar and difficulty, felt so miserable for a whole week, 
while a duel was daily expected, that he said it wholly 
unfitted him for everything else. It is only as it regards 
our young pastor, that I take any interest in this affair. 
On his account I greatly regret it, for so completely has 
it occupied his time and his mind that it has rendered 
him incapable of attending to his ministerial or pastoral 
duties, to such a degree as to produce great dissatis- 
faction in his congregation. He has received a call from 
Albany, with the offer of a salary of $2000, and I rather 

1 William T. Barry, of Kentucky, appointed by Jackson Postmaster 


think he will accept it, if he does we shall lose a good 
preacher but nothing more. The admiration excited 
by his sermons has spoiled him for a faithful Pastor, — 
a humble minister of the gospel. He is an elegant, 
polished, agreeable young man, of brilliant talents, of 
bland and pleasing manners. He seldom visits us, and 
none of that intimacy and confidence and interest has 
taken place, which I would desire should connect me 
and mine with our Pastor. 

Since Christmas we have, comparatively to what we 
were before, been quite retired and domestic. The gay 
season, then commenced — large parties, every night — 
these we do not like. Gov. Branch's crush-party sick- 
ened me of them and we have declined 12 or 13 invi- 
tations. We have three for this week but shall not 
accept of one. But most folks are fond of them and our 
neighbors and beaux among the rest, so that instead of 
participating of our fire-side pleasures they sought these 
of drawing rooms and Balls. The less we go out the 
less we are inclined to go out, so that we shall soon, 
if we go on at this rate, live as retired as we did at 
Sidney. Yet it is seldom we are quite alone ; when we 
are, one of the girls reads aloud and thus pleasantly 
beguiles the evening. I have visited but few strangers. 
Mrs. Frelinghuysen is among that few. I want to ask 
her to pass an evening, but if I do there are so many 
others that I must ask, and I feel so little inclined to 
give a party, that I fear to undertake it; as for a plain 
tea-drinking, she would not think it worth while to get 
a hack to come to one. The city is thronged with 
strangers, fashionable ladies from all quarters, a great 
many mothers with daughters to show off, a great many 
young ladies coming to see relatives and to be seen by 
the public and all coming in such high ton and expen- 


sive fashions, that the poor citizens can not pretend to 
vie with them and absolutely shrink into insignficance, 
We have made no interesting acquaintances. I prom- 
ised myself more pleasure than I have realized in my 
intercourse with Mrs. Randolph. Her family is so very, 
very large that I can never see her alone; besides she 
and her 4 daughters are continually, almost every night 
in company and when disengaged are happy to find rest 
and quiet by themselves at home. Our young folks do 
not take to each other as I hoped. Her daughters can 
bear no comparrison to her, tho' they are very amiable 
and intelligent. When all this turmoil of gaiety is 
over, I hope to see more of her. She is completely 
wearied, but thinks it advantageous to her family to 
mix in society. My Julia is quite recovered and we are 
all quite well and I think quite contented, which is the 
highest degree of happiness we should expect. May 
you dear sister and those you love be blessed with it. 


March 31st, 1830. Washington. 

. . . . Since I began this letter I have had several 
interruptions, — first came Joseph Dougherty, the favor- 
ite and confidential servant of Mr. Jefferson, while he 
resided in Washington. He is an Irishman, and has all 
the glow of affection and enthusiasm peculiar to his 
nation. With a good education and natural intelligence 
he acquired in his long service a degree of elevation and 
refinement of feelings and views, seldom or ever found 
in his class. He sat at least an hour, talking of the dear 
old Man, as he called him, and telling me anecdotes 
about his private life, which only a favorite domestic 


could tell. He was in the midst of a minute detail of 
Mr. J.'s distribution of every hour of the day, from sun 
rise until bed time, when Mrs. Cutts entered. "Well," 
exclaimed he, "here are three of us, who can testify of 
the good old times!" When Mrs. Randolph arrived in 
the city, he waited on her, and after urging his services 
(gratuitous and friendly) he finished by saying, "Do, 
madam, make me of use to you, and believe me, I will 
now be a more faithful and devoted servant to you, than 
I ever was while you lived in the President's house." 
He is never weary of reciting Mr. J.'s praises. "His 
whole life was nothing but good," said he, — "it was his 
meat and drink, all he thought of and all he cared for, 
to make every body happy. Yes, the purest body." He 
was sure nobody could know without loving and blessing 
him. The entrance of other company, made him with- 
draw, and after Dr. Seawell and Mrs. Brown went, Col. 
Bomford came in and sat more than an hour. Thus has 
my rainy morning been stolen from me, which I had 
appropriated to letter writing. 

I have been much engaged lately in reading Mr. Jef- 
ferson's correspondence. 1 Seated at my chamber window 
from whence I could see the President's house, terrace 
and garden. I often withdraw my eyes from the book 
to look at the place which once knew him, but knows him 
now no more. "And is it possible," I said to myself, 
"that I have been the familiar companion of this man 
who will be hereafter looked upon, as we now look upon 
Cicero, and other great men of antiquity, — that I have 
conversed with him of the events recorded in these pages, 
and which will constitute some of the most important 
facts in the history of mankind? — that I have walked 

1 " Memoirs, Correspondence, and Miscellanies of Thomas Jefferson," by 
Thomas J. Randolph (4 vols. Boston, 1820). 


with him on that Terrace, sat by his domestic fire-side 
and been with him in the still more sacred seclusion of his 
daughters sick-chamber?" How like a dream it appears. 
I wish every body would read these letters, and not a few 
selected ones, most unfavorable to his character. Take 
them all in all, and they present examples of candour, 
impartiality, benevolence, and wisdom, seldom, if ever 
equalled. Cicero's correspondence can bear no com- 
parison as to intellectual excellence. Whatever his opin- 
ions on religion were, they were not negligently made 
up. His researches were deep and extensive. And the 
result of these researches, was conviction of the truth 
of the system he adopted, but at the same time of the most 
perfect tollerance towards other men's opinions. "I 
judge of every man's faith, by his life," said he in a letter 
to me, "and I wish my fellow citizens to judge of mine 
by the same test." Mrs. Randolph has lent me, one work 
of his, that shows the interest he took in the subject of 
religion. It is selections from the four Gospels, so ar- 
ranged as to give the complete history of the life, pre- 
cepts and doctrines of Jesus Christ, without the repetition 
which is found in the different gospels. His mode was 
to cut out of each portions which by being connected gave 
in one view a more clear and complete account, than 
when found scattered through the different gospels, and 
this not in one language, but in Greek, Latin, French 
and English. He always speaks of Christ as one of the 
greatest of reformers and wisest and best of men, and 
his system of morals as the most pure and sublime of any 
ever given to man. His religion he considers to be pure 
deism. The worship, purely spiritual, independant of all 
external forms. Never was a death more serene and 
happy than Mr. J.'s. Mrs. R. not only detailed every 
particular and word of the last hours of his life, but has 


shown me the last lines he ever wrote. They were ad- 
dressed to her, written during his last illness, when every 
hope of life was fled, — entitled "a death-bed adieu." 
He put them in her hand the day before his death, say- 
ing with a placid smile and tender voice, "that is for you, 
my daughter." She did not open the little pocket-book 
in which they were enclosed until some days after his 
death. In these lines which are in verse he bids her not 
to weep at an event which would crown all his hopes, — 
that his last pang would be in parting from her, but that 
he would carry her love and memory to the two happy 
spirits (her mother and sister) who were waiting to re- 
ceive him. 


August ist, 1830. Sidney. 

. . . . I am sorry for your sake Mr. W.[irt] did 
not remain in B. His conversation would have charmed 
you as much as his oratory, — his manners in the domes- 
tic circle have a charm peculiar to himself. The last 
evening I passed with this charming family, previous to 
their leaving Washington, he appeared in a more amia- 
ble and affecting light than I had ever seen him. He 
was reclining in one corner of a sopha, and while he con- 
versed with me in the most animated manner, he would 
occasionally turn to his lovely daughter, whose head was 
leaning on his shoulder, and who with playful fondness 
was patting his cheek, or twining her fingers in the curls 
that shaded his temples, and look on her with a pride 
and tenderness words could not have expressed. There 
is a great deal of this caressing manner between him and 
his children; they seem to love one another, as compan- 


ions and friends of the same age love each other and yet 
without any dereliction of that respect which accom- 
panies affection for a parent. In truth I never met with 
a family like them, — every individual bears the stamp of 
genius — genius, with all its ardent affections, enthusi- 
asm and eccentricity. There is as much heart as there 
is brain in their composition; were it otherwise, one 
might admire without loving them. Mrs. Wirt has least, 
perhaps none from nature, but she could not live 30 
years with Mr. W. without catching some portion of his 
powerful and glowing genius. She is a woman of sound 
common sense, a great manager and economist and has 
made Mr. Wirt the useful and respectable character he 
now is. "Yes," said an old friend, who was giving me 
the family history, "all he now is, he owes to his wife." 1 
Genius is too often a meteor that dazzles the blind, an 
ignis fatuus that lures to danger, instead of guiding to 
safety. Such, in his youth, it proved to Mr. W. He 
was an almost lost and ruined man, both in morals and 
fortune, when he married the excellent wife, whose pru- 
dence and affection snatched him from the dangers that 
surrounded him and has since been his guard and sup- 
port. I wish she had accompanied him and you could 
have become acquainted with her. Yet, this could not 
have been done, in one way, not in many interviews, her 
disposition is too reserved to allow of her being easily 
known. I never heard of any one that was confidentially 
intimate with her, or indeed, at all intimate, yet such is 
the sweetness and softness of her manners, that she con- 
ciliates affection in spite of her coldness and reserve. 
She is wholly devoted to her husband and children, — to 

1 She was Elizabeth Gamble, second daughter of Col. Richard Gamble, a 
merchant of Richmond. Wirt was a widower twenty-nine years old when 
he married her in 1802, after he had been put on probation for a period by 
Col. Gamble before he would give his consent. 


live in them and for them — and does not disguise her in- 
difference to all other things and persons, so that with 
all her merit, she is not popular in general society, but 
is proportionably dear to the few to whom she is well 
known and to whom she unveils herself. Lovely as her 
daughters are, I often fear for their happiness; they are 
hot-house plants, that will never bear an exposure to the 
cold and rude air of common life. Their health seems 
as fragile, as their characters are delicate. I cannot 
reconcile Mrs. W.'s artificial and refined system of edu- 
cation, with that sound, practical common sense, which 
she has discovered in her other duties. .... 


August 29, 183 1, Sidney. 

. . . . What does Lytleton now think of Genl. 
Jackson ? The papers do not exaggerate, nay do not de- 
tail one half of his imbecilities. He is completely under 
the government of Mrs. Eaton, one of the most ambitious, 
violent, malignant, yet silly women you ever heard of. 
You will soon see the recall of the dutch minister an- 
nounced. Madm. Huygen's spirited conduct in refusing 
to visit Mrs. E. is undoubtedly the cause. The new Cabi- 
net if they do not yield to the President's will on the 
point, will, it is supposed, soon be dismissed. Several of 
them in order to avoid this dilemma, are determined not 
to keep house or bring on their families. Therefore, not 
keeping house, they will not give parties and may thus 
avoid the disgrace of entertaining the favorite. It was 
hoped, on her husband's going out of office, she would 
have left the city, but she will not. She hopes for a com- 


plete triumph and is not satisfied with having the Cabinet 
broken up and a virtuous and intelligent minister recalled, 
and many of our best citizens frowned upon by the Presi- 
dent. Our society is in a sad state. Intrigues and para- 
sites in favour, divisions and animosity existing. As for 
ourselves, we keep out of the turmoil, seldom speak and 
never take any part in this troublesome and shameful 
state of things. Yet no one can deny, that the P.'s weak- 
ness originates in an amiable cause, — his devoted and 
ardent friendship for Genl. Eton. . . . 


Sidney, August 29, 183 1. 

. . . . I called the other day to see Mrs. McClean, 
I found her precisely the same frank, gay, communica- 
tive woman she ever was. She pulled off my bonnet that 
I might be more at ease, threw herself on the sofa and 
made me lounge by her, where we had a long talk about 
England, viz., she had, while I listened, well pleased. 
She mentioned you and your kind invitation. She is 
evidently very much elated with her past and present 
dignity, but her self-complacence is united with so much 
good humour to others, that it is not offensive. She will 
have as difficult a part to play in society as her husband 
will in office, as she, as well as he, must be under the 
influence, I was going to say, despotism of the President's 
will. And altho' I sincerely believe him to be a warm, 
kind-hearted old man, yet so passionate and obstinate, 
that such a subserviency must be very galling and hard 
to bear. In truth, the only excuse his best friends can 
make for his violence and imbecilities, is, that he is in 


his dotage. His memory is so frail, that he can scarcely 
remember from one day to the other what he says or 
what he does; 1 but while his mind has lost its vigour, 
his passicfhs retain all their natural force, unrestrained 
by the only power that ever could restrain them, his good 
and most beloved wife. Van Buren stood them as long 
as he could, but unable to govern or direct judgment so 
weak and passions so strong, he escaped from the increas- 
ing difficulties of His station, and most kindly and disin- 
terestedly changed places with his friend. Before many 
months are over, I suspect that friend will not thank 
him for his disinterested kindness. It is said the gentle- 
men of the present cabinet, mean to act in strict unison 
and thus by their united power oppose all injudicious, 
foolish or injurious measures, hoping this union will 
make their power irresistible, but I suspect the secret, 
continually applied influence of Mrs. E. will continue to 
govern and direct the feelings and will of the good old 
man. We will see. Mrs. E. can not be forced or per- 
suaded to leave Washington. Her triumph, for so she 
calls the dissolution of the cabinet, her triumph she says 
is not yet complete. All her adversaries are not yet 
turned out of office, to be sure, three secretaries and a 
foreign minister are dismissed, but Mr. and Mr. and Mr. 
remain, they too must go, and she must be received into 
society, and she hopes and believes that next winter the 
present Cabinet ministers will open their doors for her. 
Mrs. McClean has already committed herself on this 
point. Previous to her going to England, when on a visit 
here, in direct violation to the most violent asseverations 
previously made, she visited this lady, and instantly be- 
came a great favorite with the Pres'd. If she follows up 
this system, she will doubtless gain great influence with 
1 Mrs. Smith was never more mistaken in her life. 

i8 3 i] MRS. McLANE AND MRS. EATON 321 

him, but will lose proportionately in society. I am sorry 
she so committed herself, for the question in society is 
not so much about Mrs. E., as the principle, whether vice 
shall be countenanced. And she has placed herself in 
the sad predicament of acting in the affirmative to this 
important question. Alas, what will not ambition do 
with the very best of us? I am glad I have not been 
brought to the trial, for when I see such a high minded 
woman yield to its delusive power, I would not answer 
for myself. She is now looking for a house, and when 
one is found, means after going home, to return next 
month and form her establishment. Were it not for the 
E. affair, I think she would make a very popular lady- 
secretaress, almost as much so as dear, good, lovely, and 
lamented Mrs. Porter. Oh how every one loved that 
woman! I do not anticipate any intimacy. Our hus- 
bands are too different in their views and feelings, and 
I fear she and I will be equally so. Yet she is a charming 
woman and I am always entertained and delighted in 
her society, but I every year am more and more wearied 
from the world of fashion, more and more attached to 
our fire-side circle. My ambition is, I think, conquered. 
I have philosophised myself out of its enthralling 
power. The shifting scenes I have gazed on for thirty 
years have convinced me of the emptiness and vanity, 
and unsatisfactory nature of the honors and pleasures. 
What changes have I witnessed! What is popularity, 
what is celebrity, what is high station ? Objects of pain- 
ful anxiety in pursuit, of dissatisfaction and disappoint- 
ment, when attained, and when lost, empty and unsub- 
stantial as a dream. Domestic Life ! There alone is 
happiness. I have tried all the pleasures of the gay world 
and never found any half as satisfying and enduring as 
these I have enjoyed in my solitary chamber with my 


books and pen. Such are my views and feelings in the 
country, God grant, the city may have no power to 
change them. -Farewell dear Maria, my paper admits 
not of another line. 


Washington, 1831. Novr. 7th, Sunday afternoon. 

. . . . But how changed our circle since the first 
winter ! There are none now in the city, Mrs. Thornton, 
Seaton and Bomford excepted, that we care one half as 
much for as those that Genl. Jackson displaced. We 
have several new neighbours. How we shall like them, 
time must determine. An Empress, an ex-Minister's 
widow and Mrs. Secretary McClean are among these 
nearest to us. Madame Iturbide, the former Empress 
of Mexico, is close to us. We could, were we so inclined, 
almost shake hands from our back windows. 

Sister Gertrude, 1 the nun, who last spring escaped from 
the convent at George Town, is an 'inmate of her family, 
in fact, an adopted daughter and has the whole charge of 
her three daughters. Sister Gertrude I knew well in 
her childhood, saw now and then through the convent 
grate and on one occasion when accidently alone with 
her, offered if she wished to leave it, to communicate her 
desire to her relatives, but she then said she was con- 
fined more by her own inclination, than by her vows, or 
the walls that surrounded her. I shall try to renew our 

My dear Mrs. Randolph, has removed far away, 

1 She was a Miss White, of Montgomery Co., Md. She never disclosed 
her reasons for leaving the convent, and continued to attend the Catholic 

Mrs. William Thornton. 

After a water-color by Dr. Thornton in the posses- 
sion of J. Henley Smith, Washington. 

i8 3 i] SISTER GERTRUDE 323 

almost to George Town, — quite out of my walking capac- 
ity. She has been absent since May, but is daily ex- 
pected back. 

With the exception of good Mrs. Newal's family, all 
my other neighbours are gayer folks than we have any 
desire to be, for this in every sense of the word is the 
West end of the city. Elizabeth Wirt, now Mrs. Edds- 
borough arrived a few days since. She is to live in her 
father's former house, and I suppose some of the family 
will always be with her. Mrs. Wirt and Catharine ac- 
companied her. We called yesterday, the Bride, groom 
and bridesmaid, (viz. Catherine) were all in deep black, 
but they were quite gay and happy. I did not see Mrs. 
Wirt. She had been so much agitated by meeting her 
friend Mrs. Lear, that she could not venture to see any 
other of her friends. She returned yesterday to Balti- 
more. Mr. Farley, Catherine's disappointed lover, lives 
in a house exactly opposite to Eddsbourough. I won- 
der if such close neighbourhood, will not reunite the 
lovers. . . . 


[Washington] Friday, Deer. 9th, 1831. 

. How little did I imagine when I closed my last letter 
to you my dearest sister, that more than two weeks 
would pass without my resuming my pen and commenc- 
ing the journalizing letter I promised. But so it is, — 
my time does not seem at my own command, it is stolen 
from me by the force of circumstances, yet — circumstan- 
ces so insignificant as not to deserve being recorded. My 
visiting list is one of the smallest of any lady in Wash- 
ington, — yet to keep up an interchange with only 70 or 


80 persons consumes almost all my morning hours. One 
day when I was visiting with Mrs. Porter and remarked 
incidentally here is the list of visits I owe, at least 50, 
" Oh how happy you are," said she, " only look at mine, 
it exceeds 500." Now this does not appear to you a more 
silly custom than it does to me. But what is to be done ? 
Why, either to give up society, or conform to its estab- 
lished customs, at least partially and moderately conform, 
and that is all I do, — and had I not young persons in the 

family, I really would give it up and live .* 

Being a stormy day I thought I should write without in- 
terruption, but two have occurred since I began writing, 
— one a poor and worthy woman with whom I had a long 
talk, the last one of the most amiable and agreeable 
young men, — Lieut. Farley, 2 the discarded lover of Cath- 
arine Wirt. He is handsome, highly informed, in fact 
an intellectual man and of most exemplary morals. 
Catherine is here, living close by him, and is said to be 
very unhappy. He is so indignant at the treatment he has 
received, that it is said his love is conquered and to all 
appearance he is as happy as ever. But I rather think 
it is only pride gives him this appearance. 

Our good friend Mrs. Clay has arrived. Altho' it 
was a snow storm the day after her arrival, Ann and I 
hastened to welcome her back and sat the whole of a 
long morning with her. She looks ill and unhappy, an^ 
much cause has she, poor woman, for her unhappiness. 
Her two eldest sons are living sorrows to her, which all 
who have had the trial, say are the most difficult afflic- 
tions to bear. One, irreclaimably dissipated, the other 
insane and confined in a hospital. Mr. Clay is borne up 

1 So in the MS. 

2 John Farley, who did not renew his suit to Miss Wirt, but married Anna 
Maria Pearson of Washington. He resigned from the Army and entered 
the Coast Survey. 


i8 3 i] MRS. SMITH'S VISITS 325 

by the undying spirit of ambition, — he looks well and 
animated, and will be this winter in his very element, — 
in the very vortex of political warfare. With his un- 
rivaled and surpassing talents, his winning and irresistibly 
attractive manners, what is it he cannot do? We shall 
see, but I shall think it strange if he does not succeed 
in all his aims. He has been received with marked defer- 
ence and respect, and altho' the President of the Senate 
is an administration man, he has been placed on some of 
the most important committees. Mr. Adams 1 in the 
lower House [receives] still more marked and cordial 
attentions. Judge Wayne 2 told me yesterday, it was 
really gratifying to see party-spirit so subjugated to a 
better feeling, — that every day, men of all parties, 
crowded round him to testify their respect and good 

Govr. Barbour and his family are likewise here. We 
called yesterday to see them, — it is really a great pleasure 
to meet those with whom we had lived so cordially and 
agreeably. How glad I should be to get all our old 
friends back again and not to feel as we now feel, sur- 
rounded by strangers, — with hostile feelings or absolute 
indifference. Mrs. McClane sat some time with me 
yesterday, poor woman, — her new honors are not without 
thorns, and she feels them acutely. 

Mrs. Livingston 3 takes the lead in the fashionable world 
and Mr. L. is trying to take the lead in the political. 
Neither Mr. or Mrs. McC. are people who will willingly 
follow, and it is already rumoured that much conflict and 
dissatisfaction exists in the Cabinet. The President has 

1 John Quincy Adams was elected a Representative in 1831 by the Anti- 
Mason party. 

2 James Moore Wayne, then Representative from Georgia, appointed 
Judge of the Supreme Court in 1835. 

3 She was Louise D'Avezac, the widow of a Jamaica planter, Moreau, and 
had married Mr. Livingston in New Orleans in 1805. 


had a nuptual fete in his family, on the marriage of his 
adopted son, which gave rise to some difficulties respect- 
ing etiquette. He, (the Presd.) communicated to Mr. 
McC. his design that the Secretary of State should always 
take precedence of the foreign ministers at table, but 
that the rest of the. Cabinet should follow the foreign 
ministers. Mr. McC. said this was an arrangement 
which he could not yield — that in the Council chamber as 
the Secretary of State was constitutionally entitled to the 
first seat next the President, he had no hesitation in 
yielding it to him, but in all other places, he claimed 
absolute equality and could not yield to so marked a 
distinction as the President proposed, that he con- 
sidered the Cabinet as a unit. The argument was car- 
ried on some time. At last the President consented that 
all the members of the Cabinet should precede the for- 
eign ministers, and that the President should lead Mrs. 
Livingston. This order was settled, and announced by 
his Private Seer, to the company. On learning it, the 
French minister urged the Dutch minister, as the oldest 
resident, to resist such an innovation and to maintain the 
right of precedence for the foreign ministers. Accord- 
ingly Mr. Huggins, remonstrated with the Private Seer, 
(the company all standing, dinner having been an- 
nounced). The Private Seer, communicated the diffi- 
culty to the President. He at once, good humouredly 
said, "Well, I will lead the Bride, it is a family fete, — so 
we will wave all difficulties, and the company will please 
to follow as heretofore." 

Now, triffiing as this affair will appear, it may have 
serious political consequences. The Presd. and foreign 
ministers are dissatisfied with the Seer, of the Treasury, 
and the poor man is not of a temper to conciliate dissatis- 
factions, — and then too, the Seer, of State will resent the 

Dr. William Thornton. 

After a water-color by himself in the possession of 
J. Henley Smith, Washington. 


resistance made to the honor designed him by the Presi- 
dent, and the ill will thus engendered between the two 
first members of the Cabinet will doubtless influence their 
deliberations. And the Presdt. himself, never yet could 
bear opposition. The Bank question has been another 
point of controversy, so much so, that joined with various 
little matters, a member of congress told a friend of ours, 
he should not be surprised at another blow up. If these 
details do not amuse you and the girls, I am sure they 
will Lytleton, and as he is an invalid, I should be glad to 
make him smile amidst his pains, but bid him remember 
they are very confidential, and might bring me in a scrape 
if made known, for folks would guess his informer. Mrs. 
Eaton's affair, at the beginning, was but a spark, but 
what a conflagration did it cause. — Good morning, I am 
called to dinner, — it is four oclock, and my fingers are 
numbed, — the ground is covered with our fifth fall of 
snow and the clouds look heavy with another, — what a 
winter ! 

Saturday morning. I had just seated myself by the 
centre table in the parlour, — my usual seat, and taken my 
pen to write you a few lines, when Mr. and Mrs. Everet 1 
came in, — they are very sensible, agreeable people, but 
would be still more so if not so formal and precise. Mrs. 
Van Ransalear, in describing Mrs. E. to me the first 
winter she was here, said the gentlemen called her a 
hoity-toity woman. In our formal morning visits, I have 
seen nothing of this kind, she is the perfect lady, in ap- 
pearance and manners, without pretensions of any kind. 
The girls sit of a morning in the dining room, which 
opens from this, where they read and sew together, sel- 
dom coming in to receive company, unless it is some one 
whom they particularly wish to see, with the exception of 

1 Edward Everett was then serving in the House. 


Julia, however, who always sits by me. After dinner and 
through the evening, all the girls come into the parlour 
and Mr. Smith and Bayard sit and read and write in the 
dining room. When we are alone, which is seldom the 
case, one of us reads aloud and the others sew, but few 
evenings pass without one, two or more visitors, and 
then chess, musick, back gammon &c. take the place of 
books and work. Last evening it was such bad weather, 
that we were certain of being alone and were comfortably 
seated with our books and work, when the bell rung and 
Mrs. Gurley and Mr. Colton, (a young clergyman) came 
in. She had brought her work, and Mr. C. wanted to 
play chess with me ; so our circle was enlarged, without 
putting aside our work. Mr. Gurley, 1 (the model of my 
Sidney Jones) and Secretary to the Colonization Society is 
a most interesting man ; in his books, a hero of romance ; 
in his temper and life, one of the most perfect Christians 
I ever knew. He is our near neighbour and were he not 
so constantly and laboriously engaged would be a fre- 
quent visitor, for he seems to like us as much as we like 
him. His wife is very young, very beautiful and in- 
genuous and simple as a child, — not much mental strength 
or improvement but truly lovable. Mr. Colton is a so-so 
Yankee, a chaplain in the navy. Last night they staid 
until eleven, but at 9 oclock I, as usual, slipped out of the 
room with my Sue and went to our room, for she sleeps 
in my chamber. She has been so well for some weeks 
past, that when amused, she has generally sat up as 
late as the family. She is much better than I expected 
or even hoped. If the cough would yield, I should be 
quite easy, as in other respects she is better than she 
was last winter. She does not like to be treated as an 
invalid, and will not let me have any little delicacy pre- 
1 Ralph Randolph Gurley, a Presbyterian, one of the founders of Liberia. 

i8 3 i] MR. AND MRS. GURLEY 329 

pared exclusively for her and when I make jelly or 
blanc mange, will not eat it unless all the family partake 
of it. Never did I know any one so little selfish. She 
gets wearied of sitting up and sewing and to lie down on 
a sopha and read is the only indulgence she allows her- 
self, and reproaches herself with laziness for doing that. 
She has a small bed at the foot of mine, enclosed in a 
screen. She drinks red pepper tea through the day and 
takes the syrup of squads mixed with paragoric at night, 
and always carries a box of hoarhound candy or jujube 
of which she uses a great deal. I at times can scarcely 
believe she is the subject of a dangerous disease. Surely 
of all the diseases that assail the human frame, this is 
the most easy, as it is the most insidious, — no pain, no 
uncomfortable feelings, for the slight and occasional 
fever is pleasant and exhilerating. Is it possible it is 
undermining life? I cannot at times realize it. My 
hopes of her recovery are much strengthened of late, — 
at least of the continuance of life for many years. I have 
heard of so many similar cases, where the patient lived 
for 10, 15, 20 years. 

Ann has gone out this morning on her society duties, 
to distribute clothes to the poor. We have several fam- 
ilies under our care in whom we take peculiar interest. 
Good Mrs. Brush and her grand daughter, is the one that 
we most care for. In her old age, she is totally depend- 
ant on her friends for support, being disabled by sickness 
as well as old age from doing anything for herself. So 
humble, so pious, so cheerful, so contented, — I never saw 
such a sufferer. Her life is an eloquent sermon, it is 
practical Christianity. Through how many hours of ill- 
ness has she attended me! And Mrs. Lawyer Jones 1 

1 Wife of Walter Jones who was a leader of the District bar for many 


and Mrs. Seaton, she was with the latter at the suc- 
cessive deaths of five children, and she endeared herself 
to us all. So you may believe in her helplessness, she 
wants for no comfort. Another interesting sufferer is 
an old English woman, 84 years old, without a single 
acquaintance or relation on whom she has any claim, ex- 
cepting such as humanity supplies. She is a mysterious 
personage, a woman of fine education and delicate ap- 
pearance, — report says, the daughter of a nobleman, who 
eloped in early life with a husband of inferior birth. 
Last week when I visited her, she was in such a dread- 
fully nervous state, that all the usual remedies failed; 
after administering laudanum and ether, ineffectually, I 
at last forced her to lie down, and succeeded in keeping 
her in bed, and finally soothed her into tranquillity by 
reading, — at first I tried the Bible, but that had not that 
continuity of subject that fixed the thoughts, — she said 
she loved poetry and that Pope was her favorite, so I 
sent to my friend Mr. King, who lived near, and had 
recommended Mrs. de la Plane to my care, for a vol and 
read three books of the Essay on Man. This lulled and 
composed her. Often she exclaimed, How beautiful, 
how true, how sublime ! When I read the line, the pur- 
port of which was, "He reasons best, who can his soul 
submit." "Oh," said she, "that I could submit, then 
all would be easy, would be right!" In the evening 
Mr. King called to make enquiries. "Did you not 
think me crazy," said I, "when I sent for a vol of 
Pope for a poor woman?" "Almost," said he laugh- 
ing, "at least, thought I to myself, nobody but Mrs. Smith 
would think of such a thing!" "Extraordinary cases 
require extraordinary remedies." "True," he replied, 
"and yours by its success proves it was judicious." I 
acted from experience, for often and often, when every- 


thing else has failed, I have been relieved from dreadful 
nervous attacks by poetry. "Saul was relieved by 
musick," observed Mr. King. These nerves a car- 
riage It was Cornelia Barbour, daughter of Govr. B. 

late minister to England. Her mother and father are 
confined to the house by influenza, but I doubt not he 
will find his voice to make a long speech in the Conven- 
tion. I bade Cornelia, exert her eloquence and the 
power of her charms to get Mr. Clay chosen. Oh, how 
glad should I be to have old friends back again! Cor- 
nelia was as gay, charming and carressing as ever, she 
hugged and kissed us heartily. As she went, my friend 
Wood came in, his wife is worse. He brought me the 
lines I had given him, (for I let him have whatever I 
write, he takes such a lively interest in my pen-work) 
which I hastily wrote for Louisa Bomford-Leay, — I mean 
one evening she was here, to a little party Anna Maria 
gave her. The bridal cake was crowned with a pair of 
doves (in sugar) This device suggested the lines which 
I hastily wrote and twisting the paper with some roses, 
suspended it from the united bills of the doves. The 
cake was first carried to Louisa. I stood near and told 
her the doves had a message for her, — she disengaged 
the billet-deux and found these lines : 

Gentle Doves, fly, fly away 
Swift, to the lovely Bride convey, 
Love's own emblem in this flower, 
To bloom in her domestic bower. 
Her joys be like the winter rose, 
Blooming 'till life's last season close. 

The Bride and company professed themselves charmed 

with the compliment, which at least was something new. 

The morning is over, dinner is ready. I have found 

so much pleasure in thus chatting with you that my work 


and book have remained untouched. Another week too 
has closed. Closed after 7 days of cheerfulness and 
peace, be grateful my heart for so many mercies. Dear 
sister adieu until next week. 


[Washington] Thursday, 15 Deer. 1831. 

. . . . Mrs. Clay just calls. It is really impos- 
sible to get this letter finished. I promised to go out 
with her, so adieu. 

Friday morning. 17th. The morning was so ex- 
cessively cold yesterday, that I did not dream of any 
one's going out that could stay at home, and had seated 
myself to write to you, as I thought for the whole 
morning, when Mrs. C. came to claim my promise of 
making a course. of morning visits. I did not find it so 
cold out as in the house and was on the whole better 
for my ride. Altho there is no probability of Mr. C.'s 
being chosen President, 1 yet the enthusiasm and unani- 
mity with which he was chosen as a candidate by the con- 
vention could not but be gratifying. Mrs. C. has been 
quite sick ; the first day she left the house, she came and 
sat most part of the morning with us and asked Ann to 
go with her to choose a bonnet &c for she seems to con- 
sider us as relatives. Wherever she went yesterday 
she was received with demontrations of affection; the 
fact is tho' a very plain and unadmired woman either in 
mind or manners, she is so kind, good, and above all, 
discreet, that I do not think during the many years she 
lived here she ever made an enemy, tho' she was not 
as popular and admired as other ladies have been. . . 
1 He was now in the Senate. 

i8 3 i] MR. CALHOUN'S FACE 333 


New York i March 1832. 

. . . . My dear Mrs. Smith I fear that while I 
was in your city I must have appeared to you very cold 
and unmoved by your cordial and constant kindness. I 
was not so. I saw so much that was new to me, had so 
many new subjects of curiosity and interest opened upon 
me, that I was the passive recipient of a multitude of 
impressions, without being able on my part to make any 
demonstrations of feeling. I assure you I brought with 
me and shall retain a deep sense of your cordiality and 
effective benevolence towards me. I have had much 
pleasure in reading your parting gift. You have de- 
lineated very common infirmities in our society in a 
natural and unoffending manner. It is a great matter to 
avoid alarming the pride of the class you would mend. 
Of all writers the moral writer has the most difficult 
task. The religious teacher comes forth invested with 
authority and armed with panoply divine, but he who 
would shoot folly as it flies rushes amidst a hostile army, 
and for the innocent brush he has given, may receive a 
cloud of arrows dipped in gall. I some times think with 
Moliere who says somewhere in two very pithy lines, 
that there is no folly equal to his who attempts to mend 
the world. And yet the best of every age from the 
Divine Author of our religion down to the humblest but 
sincere follower have been engaged in this mending 
work. Then let us believe it a noble one and do not 
you, my dear Mrs. Smith, be faint hearted in it. . . . 

Mr. Calhoun's pamphlet has here, 2 as I presume every 

1 Catherine Maria Sedgwick wrote a number of successful novels and 
sketches, one of which "Redwood" (1824) being published anonymously 
was translated into French and attributed to J. Fenimore Cooper. 

2 In reply to General Jackson's charges in the Seminole affair. 


where, produced a great sensation. I am not addicted 
to political reading but the atmosphere of Washington 
was still about me, for to tell the honest truth I believe 
it was the light of Mr. Calhoun's splendid eye still lin- 
gering in my imagination, and I read this with interest 
or at least I'll swear to every word of Mr. C.'s letters. 
They are written with the pen and spirit of a true 
gentleman, a spirit of rectitude, delicacy and refinement, 
and I trust he will break the net his enemies have been 
weaving around him. The impressions of the un- 
prejudiced seem to me to be all in, his favor, and it is the 
few and not the mass, in our part of the country, who 
look thro' the witching glass of party darkly. Mr. C.'s 
face charmed me, it is stamped with nature's aristocracy, 
and with honest Caleb I am a thorough believer in 
"visnomy." But are we not a happy people to be sit- 
ting by our parlor fire-sides and getting up an agitation 
with such topics when the nations of Europe are about 
to pour their blood like water and tears like rain for 
political existence? . . . 


Monday, September 3rd 1832. 

Summer has gone ! It departed in a violent storm 
and autumn commenced with weather almost as cold as it 
concludes. It is a rainy, a right down rainy day, such 
as I love. Seated by my window looking out on the 
beautiful hills and on the close surrounding trees, listen- 
ing to the pattering of the rain and watching the waving 
of the boughs in the wind, I could truly enjoy this aspect 
of nature, were it not for the thought of the hundreds 
and hundreds of my fellow citizens who must suffer, alas, 


fatally suffer from exposure to this weather. Since the 
hard rain on Friday and the cold which succeeded it, 
many poor creatures have perished with the cholera. 
Although it is two weeks since it made its appearance 
in the central part of the city, not a case had occurred in 
the eastern or western extremeties. About the middle 
of last week a number of cases appeared in the western 
part, viz. near Georgetown, in the vicinity of Rock 
Creek, the mouth of the Tiber and the canal, — all around 
our friend Dr. Sim. He spent the day with us yester- 
day and went with us to Rock Creek church. When he 
left the city there were within his knowledge eleven 
lying dead and five or six who must die in the course of 
the day, in that part of the city. We found the hearse 
in the church yard, and persons digging the grave of an 
old neighbor, but late resident in the city. On Satur- 
day morning after eating a hearty breakfast she was 
taken ill and at 4 oclock in the afternoon was dead. Al- 
though our city has none of the narrow streets and alleys 
and filthy wharves, etc., of a commercial city and of a 
dense population, it has other local circumstances as 
unfavorable to health and as prolific in cases of disease 
peculiar to itself. This season especially, several large 
public works are going on — The Canal, the McAdamiz- 
ing Pennsylvania Avenue, and the opening the ground 
for the conveyance of water ; the latter of which requires 
digging for miles and through hills, as the source of the 
water is distant and far below the level of the reservoir 
on Capitol hill. It is a great work, which added to the 
others, has drawn to the city at least a thousand laborers, 
in addition to our own, most of them Irish. Board- 
ing as they must among our poorest citizens, they are 
crowded into wretched cabins, where in some cases they 
have been found without bedding, seats or tables, — lit- 


erally lying, sitting and eating on the floor, so closely 
packed that they had only room to stretch themselves 
out; this is the worst, but others are not much better 
off. Thus are they lodged at night after, being exposed 
all day to the open air. Bayard says it makes his heart 
ache as he goes along the avenue, to see the poor crea- 
tures sitting on piles of stones in the burning heat of 
the noon day sun, after having been exposed to the cold 
fogs of the morning, their heads sunken on their bosoms, 
their eyes never raised to the passers by, looking so sad 
and diconsolate. For how can they be otherwise, 
strangers as they are, working in the midst of disease, 
in continual apprehension of its attack, and without any 
hope beyond that of being, when attacked, thrown in a 
cart and carried to a Hospital, which they fear as they 
fear the grave itself ? So averse are the poor generally 
and they in particular to going there, that they conceal 
the first symptoms, so that when the last stage comes on, 
it is commonly fatal. Even then, they are carried by 
force, for voluntarily they will not go. Last week about 
400 Swiss citizens arrived in the city; not being able to 
find better employment, they were obliged to go to 
cracking stones on the avenue. Poor souls, when I think 
of the hopes that led them from their far off country, 
across the wide Atlantic, and the dreadful reverse they 
have met with, my heart bleeds for them. The popula- 
tion of our city is made up of individuals from all parts 
of America, — I was going to say the world, for we have 
a great many foreigners, all, in some way or another, 
dependent on the government and changing with the 
changing administrations, each family standing as it 
were by itself and caring only for itself, unconnected by 
any of these ties of common interest, which unite the 
permanent inhabitants of other cities, and without the 


bonds of kindred, long acquaintanceship or connections 
which form the cement of society, destitute of that pride 
of citizenship, that love of country, that home feeling, 
which stimulates the people of other cities, to make exer- 
tions and sacrifices for the common good. Now, when 
assailed by a common calamity, each individual thinks 
only of his own security. Efforts are making to awaken 
public sympathy, to arouse the principle of humanity. 
As yet the disease has attacked only the poor foreigners, 
labourers and blacks. When it reaches a more respect- 
able class, it will doubtless awaken a deeper interest and 
livelier sympathy. But we have no funds, and the ad- 
ministrators of the general government do not feel at 
liberty to apply public money to the present necessities 
of the city. Our papers will give little information as to 
the prevalence of the disease. No regular reports are 
made by physicians and cannot be of interments, when 
the poor and the blacks can without expense or trouble 
bury their own dead in the commons. 

Friday evening, Sept. 7 The disease is 

increasing and spreading to all parts of the city, but the 
proportions of deaths have greatly decreased. The sys- 
tem of depletion has been found very successful, — bleed- 
ing and calomel, the chief agents. No stimulants what- 
ever. He [Dr. Sim] brought me a lancet to-day and 
gave me instructions how to use it. Of course, only in 
cases where medical aid could not be procured and the 
risque of not bleeding was greater than its being done by 
me. I know not whether in any case I could muster 
courage, but it will do no harm to have the lancet. He 
told us of some wonderful cases affected by bleeding and 
calomel, the doses, immense. It is dark and I must 
finish this tomorrow morning. 

Saturday morning, 8th. I feel this morning, to use 


a very vulgar, but very expressive comparison, as limber 
as a wet rag and as tremulous as an aspen. For not 
only all day and every day are our nerves thus excited, 
but often at night 

Bayard, by Dr. Sim's express direction, left the city 
on Tuesday and is now with us. The cholera was all 
around him and no longer confined to the intemperate 
and the poor, but extending to those of regular habits 
and comfortable circumstances. It is now for my dear 
husband only that I have to fear and tremble. Several 
cases have occurred near the Bank. If tranquillity of 
mind is a preservation, he will be safe, for never did I 
see him more calm and firm. He goes into the city 
every day, rain or sunshine, and does not come home 
until four oclock. While in the city he keeps in his own 
room. Poor William who drives him in is dreadfully 
afraid, and no wonder, as the disease is so fatal to the 
blacks. I suppose three times as many are victims to it 
as whites; they and the foreigners, Irish and Swiss are 
its peculiar mark. I know not whether you remember 
Brown, whose family Mr. Smith bought and whose 
daughter died that August you were here. He died 
after a few hours illness, and his son who attended on 
and buried him, came out directly afterwards to us. He 
was not well, I gave him medicine and he is now free 
from complaint. All our black people are very much 
down-cast, particularly Priscilla, having among the vic- 
tims to this pestilence lost several friends. I do all I 
can to cheer them, for which they are very grateful. 
As long as this north-west wind blows, our neighbors 
think we are secure, but fear a southern wind would 
bring it into the country 

What may almost be called a revival, prevails among 
them. Great attention to religion is awakened, num- 


bers have, or are to join the church next Sabbath and I 
sincerely hope a great and permanent reform will take 
place among our poor labouring class. You will see 
in the National Intelligencer, (which I believe Lytleton 
takes) notice of Mr. Colton's attendance in the hospitals. 
He really does seem like another Apostle. He has a 
wonderful influence in the city, although it is but 5 or 
6 months since he took Mr. John's place in Trinity 
church. He has warmed all his congregation with his 
own zeal for the present sufferers. The ladies have 
formed themselves into societies, some to make up 
clothes for the poor, sick, some to prepare the food for 
them and others to take charge of orphans. The two 
Miss Tayloes, hitherto the gayest of the gay, most fash- 
ionable and world-devoted among our young ladies, are 
said to have become very serious under his preaching, 
and will most probably join the church. He is a delight- 
ful preacher. I shall try and make his acquaintance if 
we live to meet next winter. But he looks as if he would 
not last so long. Consumption seems to have marked him 
for her own. His voice is sepulchral, and very, very 
solemn. Last week he preached three times at Rock- 
Creek, without neglecting his weekly and Sabbath ser- 
vices in the city, and since has been continually occupied 
in visiting and comforting the sick. I cannot hear a 
word of our minister's being thus engaged. His wife is 
a sickly-timid woman, and I fear will use her influence to 
keep him back from this trying duty. The spirit of 
benevolence during this past week has been completely 
aroused in the city and is in active exercise. I feel my 

present uselessness and inactivity painfully 

Monday morning. Yesterday we had an overflowing 
congregation. Old Rock-Creek was crowded. The 
circumstances were solemn and affecting. A great 


many young persons joined the church, with ceremoni- 
ous not usual in the Episcopalian church. Quite Meth- 
odistical. Dr. Sim, did not accompany us, but came dur- 
ing the service and the girls all rode home with him, in 
his carriage. No doubt, most of the neighbors, think 
they are married. He could not pass the day, — some of 
his patients were to ill to spare him so long. The disease 
continues rapidly to extend and increase but has become 
so manageable that not many deaths occur. My fine col- 
lection of stimulants of all kinds, set out in order on my 
mantle piece, bundles of linen &c., &c, are pronounced 
worse than useless. 


[Washington] Saturday morning, 15th Deer. 1832. 
. . . . What do you think of Septemea's having 
become a Catholick? It is even so and I believe she 
will soon publicly join that church. Mary Ann Gra- 
ham has done so, likewise Jeanette Hart, and Mrs. 
Tucker told us Mrs. Hall too, but I have heard it from 
no one else. Mr. Pise 1 is carrying all before him. His 
zeal, his eloquence and his personal beauty combine to 
give him an influence no priest has before had amongst 
us. When he preaches, the church is so crowded, that 
not only the seats but the isles are crowded. You will 
have seen by the papers that he is chosen chaplain to the 
Senate. Mr. Poindexter who called here yesterday, 
said the motive was to show the universal toleration of 
our government. Mr. Palfrey has been to see us, but 
our own clergyman Mr. Smith has not been inside our 

1 Charles Constantine Pise, a Catholic priest of great renown in his day. 
He was a friend of Henry Clay, who secured his appointment as chaplain 
to the Senate. He is the only Catholic who ever held the post. 


door since we came to town. He visits no one and his 
sermons are growing more and more metaphysical and 
political and becoming more and more a mere student. 
When Mrs. McComb 1 came to the Dorcas Society the 
other day, she took the same occasion to pay me a long 
visit, and I liked her better than usual. I see very little 
of Mrs. Thornton. It is now ten days since I have been 
there, the weather and my pen engagements have pre- 
vented my going out, except to see sick neighbours. Mr. 
King was here last night and had a long talk with Ann, 
on religious subjects. The room was so warm that my 
head turned, I was dull and could not entertain him, 
being more inclined to go to sleep. 


[Washington,] Christmas, 1832. 

. . . . The ambition some felt for its honors 
exists no longer, and this was one of the strongest stimu- 
lants to activity and exertion I ever felt. But a life in 
Washington cures one of ambition for honors and dis- 
tinctions, by exhibiting them in all their vanity, instabil- 
ity, and transitoriness, and unveiling at the same time all 
the pains and some vexations appertaining to them. I 
wonder if Mr. Clay realizes these things and can learn 
to be content with the portion he possesses. Were we to 
have a peep into his bosom what a lesson we should 
learn. And Mr. Calhoun, 2 will his high soarings end 
in disappointment and humiliation or be drowned in 
blood? However he may now err, he is one of the 

1 Wife of Major General Alexander Macomb, commanding the army. 

2 He was in the midst of his efforts to apply the nullification theory. 


noblest and most generous spirits I have ever met with. 
I am certain he is deceived himself, and believes he is 
now fulfilling the duty of a true patriot. What a happy 
nation we were! Alas, and may we not write, we are? 
The impending political storm, as you may easily suppose 
is almost the exclusive object of interest and conversa- 
tion. . . . 


[Washington,] January 17, 1834. 

It is a rainy day, and therefore I may hope it will be 
free from the continual interruptions to which I am sub- 
ject on fine sunshiny days — though as they have been 
rare this winter, you may imagine according to that 
rule that most of my days were interrupted leisure. But 
I know not how it is, I have very little leisure for either 
reading or writing; interchanging visits with above 
100 people consumes a great deal of time — now and then, 
most agreeably, as for instance one day this week, out 
of 12 visits which I paid, 3 were pleasant, 2 interesting. 
With Mrs. Gorham * I sat I am sure more than an hour, 
and when I left her, thought to myself our conversa- 
tion might have furnished two entertaining biographical 
sketches, with the effect of perfect contrast. She be- 
gan by making inquiries about Mrs. Clay, which from 
the interest she took in the subject led me into many 
details and gave a continuity to speaking, which made 
Mrs. Gorham only a listener; but we exchanged our 
parts and she became the speaker, I the listener, when 
she entertained me excessively with the account she 

1 Wife of Benjamin Gorham, a Representative from Boston, son of 
Nathaniel Gorham. 

i8 34 ] MRS. OTIS, MRS. WIRT, MRS. WAYNE 343 

gave of Mrs. Otis — the dashing Mrs. Otis. 1 Mrs. G. is 
one of the most sensible, best informed, frank and agree- 
able women that have ever been in Washington. I hope 
to improve our acquaintance into intimacy, particularly 
if, as she hopes, Miss Sedgwich comes on to stay with 
her. I afterwards called on Mrs. Wirt, scarcely, how- 
ever, hoping to see her, as she has within this month lost 
her eldest daughter Mrs. Randal. But she sees her 
friends. I found her quite composed. She and her 
two daughters were in the parlour dressed to receive 
company and though serious, not melancholy. Here I 
had an interesting visit. In the evening we went round 
to drink at Mrs. Thornton's and Mrs. Wayne living 
next door, I determined to step in, and pay her a social 
visit. She looked so comfortable, so homelike and at 
the same time so elegant, and as usual she was so 
pleasant, that had I not been engaged to Mrs. Thorn- 
ton I should have liked to have passed the whole even- 
ing with her. A handsomely furnished room, was 
cheerfulized by a large bright fire. She, her daughter 
and son were sitting by the centre table reading, on one 
side the fire place, drawn forward, was a handsome 
pianno, on the other side a comfortable sopha. How 
delightfully she does converse! Her daughter, though 
a sweet, modest girl, will never be a belle, or have half 
her mother's attraction. The son has neither the mod- 
esty of the sister, nor the animation of father or mother. 
Being in deep mourning, she does not go out, but Judge 
Wayne with his daughter and son go to all the parties; 
of which however there have not been as many as usual. 
Mrs. McClane as lady of Secty, of State, has come out 
splendidly, every week having a dinner and evening 

1 She was Eliza Henderson Bordman, married Harrison Gray Otis, of 
Hartford Convention fame, in 1817, and became a social leader and authoress. 


party. We do not visit now. I could not submit to her 
capricious ways. She invited us to one of her parties 
last week, but as she had not returned my last visit we 
would not go, so I suppose that will end our social inter- 
course. Neither do we see the other ladies of the ad- 
ministration. Indeed our society is divided by the two 
political parties which divide our government, and in 
society, as well as in politics the opposition, I think, 
carries the day. Mrs. Clay, Mrs. Webster, Sprague and 
many others are ladies of the opposition — and among 
the citizens, with few exceptions all the most respectable 
and fashionable people. The General and his friend 
Van Buren are going out of fashion and I suspect out 
of place — Their popularity, if all I hear is truth, is rap- 
idly decreasing. Mr. Clay is in fine health and spirits; 
frank, cordial and good humored. I cannot help in- 
dulging some presidential hopes in his favour. Mrs. 
Clay is the same kind familiar friend and comes every 
day or two and passes part of the morning with us — but 
her health is indifferent. Last evening we went to- 
gether to a large party at our neighbour, Mrs. Taylor. 
She called early and sat an hour with us before we went 
to the party. James Bayard was here, too, but could 
not as he had intended, accompany us, as he had severely 
sprained his arm by a fall. The party was as gay and 
splendid, as it could be where the close packed living 
mass concealed all the beauty of the inanimate objects 
in the room. Miss Wharton of Phila. is the reigning 
Belle. I made my way through the dense mass to get 
a view of her, pioneered and guarded by Col. House, 
but after all my trouble, was disappointed in her ex- 
ceeding beauty. Virginia Southard, I think much hand- 
somer. The noise and crowd was too great for con- 
versation, and I soon grew weary and was glad at n 

i8 34 ] THE FAMILY CIRCLE 345 

o'clock to get home. I was gratified by Julia's good 
looks. She was dressed in plain white satin and pink 
and white flowers on her head — her hair arranged by a 
hair dresser. But in such a crowd it mattered little how 
one was dressed. I shall not again go to such a large 
party — I cannot bear them, and expected this to have 
been a small one. 


Washington, Febry. ioth, 1834. 

How often, how very often on awakening, have I 
said, before I arose, "This morning I will pass in writing 
to my dear sister," and then arranged in my mind all 
I had to say. But something would occur some neces- 
sary piece of work must first be dispatched, some errand, 
some visit or some visitor interfered and the intended 
letter was put off for tomorrow; tomorrow and tomor- 
row have come and gone, till in their accumulation 
they have become weeks, instead of days, and yet on 
retrospect seem like nothing. Pleasantly however have 
they passed, and if marked by no event that stamp'd a 
character on the days to come they have produced pres- 
ent content and left agreeable impressions. Compared 
with our acquaintances, we lead quite a retired and 
domestic life, viz., we neither give parties, nor go to 
parties, yet we are seldom or ever alone. Sometimes 
one, sometimes a dozen are added to our family circle. 
Last evening, for instance, when Genl. Taylor went 
away, he observed, "you have had a charming little 
party this evening," "Party," said I, "it was no party, 
viz., no one was invited, but all came in accidently." 
"Really," replied he. When he entered, Mrs. Barret 


and Mrs. Smith were playing chess at a little table, on 
one side of the fire, Mr. Barret and I, at the other side, 
and round the centre table were clustered Virginia 
Southard, Mrs. Bryan, Mrs. Brooks, Ann, Julia and 
Bayard ; in the corner of the sopha sat Anna and George 
Bomford winding worsteds, and when Genl. T. and his 
young friend Capt. Duval entered, the room looked full. 
And during the day, from eleven oclock, it had not been 
empty. Virginia is passing some days with us, and yes- 
terday Mrs. Barret came early to spend a social day. 
You should have seen us, how comfortable we looked 
and how industrious, Virginia and Anna doing their can- 
vas work in frames ; Ann and I doing ours on our hands, 
each with a little table before us, covered with worsteds 
of every shade and colour. Mrs. Barret and Julia work- 
ing muslin, all circled round a blazing fire, while without 
doors it was cold and lowering. The bell rings, — it is 
Mrs. Clay, who feeling at home, sat down among without 
disturbing us. The bell rings, — some ladies you do not 
know, who put us a little out, but they did not stay long. 
Some shade of colour was wanting, the shop was dis- 
tant, but the difficulty was surmounted by Mrs. Clay's 
telling the girls to take her carriage, she would sit with 
us till they returned. Virginia and Anna ran up stairs 
for bonnets and cloaks and just as they got down, Mr. 
Bryan entered, bringing with him a very handsome 
young man, whom he introduced, but finding the girls 
on the wing, he handed them into the carriage, jumped 
in with them, and let the handsome stranger find his 
way on foot, (a love-struck partner of Virginia's, as we 
afterwards found) Mrs. Clay took up one of the girl's 
work and our needles were resumed, when the bell again 
rung, and Mr. Calhoun came in. It seemed quite like 
old times to have him and Mrs. Clay together, separated 


as they have long been, not only by distance, but still 
more by politics. I dare say he sat near an hour and 
we had a talk of old times, as well as present times, but 
said not a word of the future, where collisions of in- 
terest may again separate these once friends. After 
he went, Catherine Smith came in, to show us a screen 
she had just finished, the canvas was worked over white 
velvet and the threads afterwards drawn out, which has 
a beautiful effect. It was the finest specimen of the 
worsted work I have seen and our exclamations of ad- 
miration were re-iterated. This work is becoming quite 
a mania here, even I could not resist, but I cannot work 
after a pattern, or count stitches and have astonished 
the girls with my fine bunch of flowers, done al fresco. 
I compose the flowers as I proceed, one after the other, 
fitting them in as suits. I am as much delighted with 
this work as with painting. Virignia, Ann and Anna 
are all working ottomans for Mrs. Clay and I am doing 
her lamp and stands. At Lowel a present of a great 
quantity of worsted was made her and we are thus help- 
ing her to use them. She does the filling up, the girls 
only do the flowers, for which they had gone to seek 
for some peculiar colour. But when once in the car- 
riage and knowing Mrs. C. was comfortably fixed with 
us, they took the opportunity to make some other calls 
and it was almost three oclock when they came back, so 
I could not but ask my cousin Bryan to stay to dinner 
and soon after Bayard came in and brought George 
Bomford, as he often does, to dinner too. Well, n'im- 
porte, we were all friends and relatives, it was only add- 
ing two more plates and another leaf of the table. Mr. 
Bryan is devoted to Virginia, he has eyes, ears and 
tongue for no one else. Whether it is love or flirtation 
I know not. For as Virginia is quite ton, young men 


distinguish themselves by being in her train, and self- 
love is often the cause of the devoted admiration they 
profess for great Belles. But Virginia is worthy of ad- 
miration for herself alone. She really looks beautifully, 
— the latter part of last evening she went to a party at 
Mrs. Webster's. Anna and I sat up until after n for 
her, and when she came home, her father, her almost 
idolizing father with her, she looked not only lovely, 
but splendid, so sparkling were her eyes, so radiant her 
countenance and so brilliant her complexion. I sup- 
pose she had been greatly admired, for Mr. Southard 
looked so pleased, so delighted. The diary of this day 
will give you some idea of most of our days, though it 
is seldom our visitors are as interesting and agreeable, 
too generally they are commonplace and indifferent, and 
I would prefer being alone with my family and books. 
As for parties, I could not stand them. I went to two, 
but love my own fireside too much to go to any more. 
Anna is almost as averse. She has been likewise only 
to two or three this winter. Although we have invita- 
tions to most, if not all that are given. Julia is the only 
individual in the family, that really likes to go out. Ann 
is very much engaged in her various societies and the 
visitations and duties they render necessary, and I have 
several interesting families to visit. The one in which 
I take most concern is that of a young woman in the 
last stage of consumption, both she and her mother are 
destitute widows. The invalid is young and very pleas- 
ing in her appearance. I love to sit with her. There 
is a great deal of suffering and sadness this winter 
among the labouring class, and how society is to form 
a system that will give permanent, or even regular re- 
lief to a class, who depend on daily labour and never 
make provision for a day beyond, I know not. The very 


remedies provided by benevolence seem to increase the 
evil by making them still more improvident. What is to 
be done? Employment would do, but Houses of In- 
dustry require not only great capital, but great, very 
great perseverance, zeal and integrity in the adminis- 
trators. Few if any have succeeded. Besides the labour- 
ing class, there are other poor, still more to be pitied, 
sudden reverses, such as dismisal from office produces 
in one day reduced from competence to poverty, as our 
acquaintances the Elgars. The blow to them was quite 
unexpected — occasioned by some disagreement with the 
President. The family will leave the city in the spring 
and I believe retire to a little farm in Ohio. How little 
suited will the girls be for a farm in Ohio where female 
servants are scarcely to be had. Pecuniary distress is 
extending to every class and every part of our country. 
The present state of affairs, unless some compromise 
between the opposing parties take place, will go on from 
bad to worse. And what is the point in dispute? Not 
any great political principle, but the rival pretentions of 
two or three individuals to the Presidency, for disguise 
it as they will, the point to be decided is, Who shall be 
President? Mr. Van B. hoped to make himself so, by 
destroying the Bank and its vast political influence, which 
had exerted hostility to him. And his opponent, who- 
ever it may be, hopes by establishing the Bank and se- 
curing its influence to put down Mr. Van B. and his 
party. Thus the ambition of individuals, is the main 
spring of the great political machine which we call The 



Washington, Feb. 19th, Wednesday. 1834 
. . . . Diverging as I have to other subjects, the 
idea of poor Dr. Stevens] 1 has not for a moment been 
absent from my mind, pray write soon again and tell 
me how he supports his affliction. Perhaps I more sen- 
sibly feel it, from that preparation of the mind for such 
impressions, produced by the death of Mr. Wirt. He 
died yesterday. Most solemnly have I felt this affect- 
ing event. He never recovered from the loss of his 
dear daughter Agnes. His whole system was shaken by 
it. His mind detached earthly interests and eagerly 
and ardently fixed on heavenly. Preparation for the 
awful event which has now taken place, has been his 
chief business for the last two years. On one Sabbath 
he attended public worship, on the next he was on his 
dying bed. His daughter, Mrs. Randal, died about a 
month ago. I have not heard how Mrs. Wirt is sup- 
ported under this sore affliction. Never were any couple 
united by a fonder or stronger affection. Such a man 
could not but be loved with ardent and exclusive af- 
fection. Great, good, amiable beyond his fellows, kind 
and loving in his disposition, frank, gentle and cordial 
in his manners, he could not be known without being 
loved. I was last evening reading over some pages he 
had written in my book of souvenirs, on the eve of his 
leaving Washington. The reflection there traced suited 
the occasion and what he said of his departed friends 
and the vain pursuits of life, applied to him so forcibly, 
that I felt as if though dead, he still spoke, as if I heard 
his voice. . . . 

1 Alexander Hodgson Stevens, a great surgeon in New York. 



Montpellier Augt. 31, 1834. ■ 
I have received with due sensibility my dear friend 
your kind letter of the 29th and can assure you that if 
a Biographical sketch must be taken, its accomplish- 
ment by your pen, would be more agreeable to me than 
by any other to which such a task could be committed, 
being persuaded not only of its competency, but of the 
just dispositions by which it would be guided. 

Dolly and Mary are now with us, but if I had known 
your wish as it regards my letters to them, and some of 
mine to their mother [torn out] have thrown light on 
the early occurrences of my life, but that they contain 
my unvarnished opinions and feelings on different sub- 
jects. As it is I will have them sent here, when the 
girls return to the city, in order that I may select those, 
at all worthy of your attention. 

My family are all Virginians except myself, who was 
born in N. Carolina, whilst my Parents were there on 
a visit of one year, to an Uncle. Their families on both 
sides, were among the most respectable, and they, be- 
coming members of the society of friends soon after 
their marriage manumitted their Slaves, and left this 
state for that of Pennsylvania, bearing with them their 
children to be educated in their religion — I believe my 
age at that time was n or 12 years — I was educated in 
Philadelphia where I was married to Mr. Todd in 1790, 
and to Mr. Madison in 94, when I returned with him 
to the soil of my Father, and to Washington, where 
you have already traced me with the kindness of a 

1 This letter, the editor assumes, was the basis of the sketch of Mrs. 
Madison in Herrick and Longacre's National Portrait Gallery, printed 
anonymously but doubtless written by Mrs. Smith. 


Sister. In the year 91, and after the death of my 
Father, my Mother received into her house some Gen- 
tlemen as boarders — and in 93 she left Philadelphia to 
reside with her daughter Washington — afterwards, with 
my sister Jackson, and occasionally with me. — I am sen- 
sible that this is but a general answer to your. Should 
any particular information be desired, I will endeavor 
to furnish it. — 

I am sorry to add that Mr. Madison's health has not 
been and is not now so advanced, as might be inferred 
from occasional references to it in the newspapers. — 
The effect of his severe and protracted rheumatism has 
been increased by other indispositions — one of which 
still hanging on him he is happily however, exempt from 
much pain, and every favourable change in him, bright- 
ens my hope of his recovery. He unites with me in 
every good wish and affectionate remembrance for your- 
self, Mr. Smith and your daughters. 

Your constant friend. 


[Washington] [1834] 
. . . . If I dared to say so, I would say that the 
subject of a heriditary monarchy have a better chance of 
well-being and tranquillity. But this would be treason. 
The Senate chamber is now the centre of attraction, not 
only of political interests, but of the fashionable world 
likewise. It is daily crowded by all the beauty and 
fashion of our great world — crowded almost to suffoca- 
tion. There never were so many strangers, especially 
ladies, before in the city and these, having no other 
occupation, or place of display, every day resort to this 


arena, where our intellectual gladiators exhibit their 
various and gigantic powers, not simply for the good 
of the country, but for the entertainment of the audi- 
ence. The atmosphere and crowd are so oppressive, 
that it is an exhibition I cannot partake in, otherwise 
the real eloquence of the present Senate, would prove 
irresistibly attractive. Genl. Preston's 1 was of the most 
popular kind and charmed every one that heard it. But 
as to producing change of opinion, or conviction in the 
minds of the hearers or readers, all this eloquence might 
have been spared for personal, individual interest, only, 
will opperate this affect. Place, not principle is now- 
a-days the object contended for. And after all, when 
the highest place is attained, is the successful occupant 
happier? For no sooner is it obtained than he becomes 
the object of abuse, and feels himself tottering in place 
and reputation. 

Rumours prevail of an approaching change in the 
Cabinet. Poor Mr. McClane 2 after all the sacrifices of 
private and domestic comfort, after all his labours and 
strivings, to retain his hard earned place for so short 
a time ! If I supposed our political intrigues and parties 
amused you, I could give you a little vol. of such 
sketches. From hear say, however, for Mr. Smith is 
wholly disconnected with politics and I take no further 
interest in them, than personal regard for some of the 
actors inspire. I cannot help, anxiously wishing that 
Mrs. Clay, may once more be a resident amongst us. 
She is such an affectionate, sincere, kind friend, such 
a good woman, that her being here, adds very much to 
our social enjoyment. It is seldom that two days pass 

1 William Campbell Preston, Senator from South Carolina from 1832 to 
1842, a brilliant orator and a follower of Calhoun. 

2 Louis McLane retired to his country place in Cecil County, Maryland, 
this year. 


without her coming to see us and after sitting an hour 
or two asking one or the other of us to ride and visit 
with her which this winter is peculiarly convenient and 
agreeable. Her health is so bad, that she never goes 
out of an evening. While I think of it, let me give you 
Mrs. Bordeau and Mrs. Thornton's kindest remem- 
brance to you. . . . Mrs. Bomford, we do not often 
see, she has at present so large a family (her house 
being full of friends and relations) that she cannot often 
leave home, but when she does come to see us, her cor- 
dial kindness is refreshing to ones heart. As to our 
domestic matters, my dear sister, I have gratefully to ac- 
knowledge they are more comfortable and cheerful than 
they often have been. We all enjoy good health and 
good spirits, subject only to transient and occasional 
interruptions. . . . 


[Washington] Wednesday, 12th 1835 January. 

. . . . They all paid long visits, and this morning, 

just this minute, Miss Martineau. 1 At so early an hour 

I expected no one and was so engaged in this letter, that 

I scarcely raised my head, when the door opened and 

two plain looking ladies (one of the ladies, was Miss 

Jeffries, her friend and companion) walked in. They 

had walked and I had not attended to the ringing of 

the door bell, not expecting visitors at this hour. "I 

have come early," said she, "to make sure of finding 

you at home, and because it is my only disengaged time. 

I yesterday planned a quiet sitting of two hours with 

you, but I found it impossible." She is a woman you 

1 Harriet Martineau came over in the summer of 1834, when she was 32 
years of age and in the zenith of her fame. 


would love, so plain, unaffected and quiet in her man- 
ners and appearance, yet animated in conversation. 
She brought me a letter of introduction from Mrs. Eck- 
art, and sent it with her card, the day after her arrival, 
otherwise I do not know whether I should have called 
on her, under our present plan of domesticity, and the 
feelings thereby induced, for when one lives out of com- 
pany one shrinks from it. Accompanied by the girls I 
called on her, sent in my name. There were three or 
four other ladies in the room, but her advancing to 
receive us, was a sufficient indication that she was Miss 
Martineau. She was sitting in a corner of the sopha, 
which supported the arm and hand, which held the 
speaking-tube to her ear, she handed it to me saying, 
"Do you know the use of this ? " I answered affirma- 
tively by an inclination of my head and putting the tube 
to my lips, soon forgot I held it, and conversed as easily 
as if not through this, it must be confessed, awkward 
medium. As I had always understood she was of the 
Liberal if not radical party, the advocate of the poor 
and of the working-class, I did not anticipate the re- 
ception she has met with from our dignitaries and fash- 
ionables. But the English minister was the first to wait 
on her, introduced her into the Senate, to the Presi- 
dent, &c, &c, which at once made her Ton. She has 
literally been overwhelmed with company. I have been 
told that the clay after her arrival near 600 persons 
called, (an exaggeration I suppose) but the number 
was immense. Poor I had been planning to show her 
the same kind of friendly, plain attentions I had done 
Mrs. Brenton and Miss Sedgwick, and offered to call 
with the carriage and accompany her to Congress, to 
make her calls of ceremony, &c, &c. When I found 
these calls had been dispensed with, and the President's 


family and Secretaries ladies had first called on her, I 
told her I did not give nor go to large parties, but should 
be glad to see her in a social and domestic manner. 
This I repeated this morning and told her when the 
hurry of her gay engagements was over, I would ask a 
quiet day. "Name what day you please after this week, 
and it shall be reserved for you," replied she. Yesterday 
she dined at the President's, and in the evening went 
to a large party. Today she dines at Sir Charles 
Vaughan's 1 and in the evening a party at Mrs. Butler's 2 
(the attorney general) two large evening parties to 
which she had promised to go, violent headaches, in- 
duced by the crowds of company during the whole day, 
obliged her to send an appology. Her health is very 
delicate. During the last year she has been laboriously 
employed, to such a degree as to impair her health. 
Absolute relaxation and change of scene were pre- 
scribed, and she thought she could obtain both these 
remedies by making the tour of U. S. But if followed 
by such crowds, her aim will be defeated. From her 
manners and appearance no one would believe it pos- 
sible she could be so distinguished, celebrated, followed. 
The drollest part of the whole is, that these crowds, at 
least in Washington, go to see the lion and nothing else. 
I have not met with an individual, except Mrs. Seaton 
and her mother, who have read any of her works, or 
knew for what she is celebrated. Our most fashion- 
able, exclusive Mrs. Tayloe, said she intended to call, 
and asked what were the novels she had written and if 
they were pretty? The gentlemen laugh at a woman's 
writing on political economy. Not one of them has the 
least idea of the nature of her work. I tried to explain 
them to Mr. Frelinghusen, Clay, Southard and others. 

1 The British Minister. 2 Benjamin F. Butler of New York. 


But enough of Miss Martineau for the present. If she 
interests you, tell me so and I will give you what fur- 
ther details. But perhaps like your Bayard you may 
think it all ridiculous 


Montpellier Jany. 17, 1835. 

Be assured my dear friend that we reciprocate all 
the good wishes which your letter has so kindly con- 
veyed to us this day — for yourself — Mr. Smith, and 
your amiable family — and truly, your observations on 
our acquaintances accord also, with my feelings on the 
subject — my experience teaches, that our hearts recur 
and cling to early attachments, as the most happy of 
our lives. I ought now to offer many apologies for 
my silence, and if I was not acquainted with your good- 
ness and forbearance, I should despair of forgiveness — 
but I trust in a simple statement of facts to shew you 
that my delinquency has not proceeded from want of 
love, and confidence in your friendship, nor am I with- 
out explanations, which will at least mitigate it. My 
letters to my sister Todd at the closing scenes of the 
War, happen to be with her in Kentucky, and I was 
unwilling to have them exposed to the mail, if I had 
been sure of their arrival in time, and that they con- 
tained anything worthy of being extracted. I might 
plead also my constant engagements of different sorts 
at home, which have not permitted me to search our 
papers, and bring my mind to the revival of scenes, or 
circumstances that might possibly throw a faint inter- 
est over a recital of them, and lastly I must in candour 
say, that I have felt more than a mere reluctance in 


being a Judge and witness, of incidents if existing, that 
might be worthy of the use to be made of them. 

Your enquiries after my dear Husband will be par- 
tially answered by himself. He is better in health than 
he was two months ago, tho' still feeble and confined 
to his rooms — we trust however that with great care 
against the cold of this Winter, he will be able to take 
exercise in his Carriage when the Spring season shall 
cheer us again. I have been afflicted for the last two 
weeks with Influenza, the violence of which seems slowly 
passing away, altho' the cough continues. 

I send you an engraving from Stuart's portrait, which 
tho' indifferently executed, is a better likeness than Mr. 
Wood's, which I would send also, but that the stage 
has ceased to run to and from Orange C. House for a 
few days, on account of bad roads. 

I hope the efforts of our friend Mr. Clay, in his in- 
teresting report, to keep "sweet peace" without a loss 
of honour, may prove successful. A war between the 
United States and France that would cost both so much, 
for a cause apparently insignificant, would be a spectacle 
truly deplorable, in the present state of the World. 
Ever affectionately yours, 


I am very thankful, my kind friend, for the interest 
you take in my health. It is not good, and at my age, 
nature can afford little of the medical aid she exerts on 
younger patients. I have indeed got through the most 
painful stages of my principal malady, a diffusive and 
obstinate Rheumatism, but I feel its crippling effects on 
my limbs, particularly my hands and fingers, as this 
little effort of the pen will shew. I owe my thanks to 


Mr. Smith also, for the friendly lines which accompanied 
your former letter to Mrs. M. and the good wishes con- 
veyed in your last. Assure him of the continuance of 
my great esteem and cordial regards. May you both 
long enjoy the blessing of health, with every other 
necessary to fill the measure of your happiness. 



Washington, Febr. 4th 1835. 
. . . . Friday 5th. And now for Miss Martineau, 
since you desire to hear a little more about her, par- 
ticularly of the day she passed here. But I really must 
give you a previous scene which amused me extremely 
and will not be without some diversion for you. The 
day previous to our little dinner party, I sent for Henry 
Orr, whom I had always employed when I had com- 
pany and who is the most experienced and fashionable 
waiter in the city. He is almost white, his manners 
gentle, serious and respectful, to an uncommon degree 
and his whole appearance quite gentlemanly. "Henry," 
said I, when he came, "I am going to have a small 
dinner party, but though small, I wish it to be peculiarly 
nice, every thing of the best and most fashionable. I 
wish you to attend, and as it is many years since I have 
dined in company, you must tell me what dishes will 
be best. "Boulli," I suppose, "is not out of fashion ?" 
"No, indeed, Ma'am ! A Boulli at the foot of the table 
is indispensable, no dinner without it." "And at the 
head?" "After the soup, Ma'am, fish, boil'd fish, and 
after the Fish, canvas-backs, the Boulli to be removed, 
1 He died June 28, following. His letter is in a painful trembling hand. 


and Pheasants." "Stop, stop Henry," cried I, "not 
so many removes if you please!" "Why, ma'am, you 
said your company was to be a dozen, and I am only 
telling you what is absolutely necessary. Yesterday at 
Mr. Woodbury's there was only 18 in company and 
there were 30 dishes of meat." "But Henry I am not 
a Secretary's lady. I want a small, genteel dinner." 
"Indeed, ma'am, that is all I am telling you, for side 
dishes you will have a very small ham, a small Turkey, 
on each side of them partridges, mutton chops, or sweet- 
breads, a macaroni pie, an oyster pie" — "That will do, 
that will do, Henry. Now for vegetables." "Well, 
ma'am, stew'd celery, spinage, salsify, cauliflower." 
"Indeed, Henry, you must substitute potatoes, beets, &c." 
"Why, ma'am, they will not be genteel, but to be sure 
if you say so, it must be so. Mrs. Forsyth the other 
day, would have a plum-pudding, she will keep to old 
fashions." "What, Henry, plum-pudding out of fash- 
ion?" "La, yes, Ma'am, all kinds of puddings and pies." 
"Why, what then must I have at the head and foot of 
the table?" "Forms of ice-cream at the head, and a 
pyramid of anything, grapes, oranges, or anything hand- 
some at the foot." "And the other dishes?" "Jellies, 
custards, blanc-mange, cakes, sweet-meats, and sugar- 
plums." "No nuts, raisons, figs, &s., &c?" "Oh, no, 
no, ma'am, they are quite vulgar." "Well, well, Henry. 
My desert is, I find, all right, and your dinner I sup- 
pose with the exception of one or two things. You may 
order me the pies, partridges and pheasants from the 
French cook, and Priscilla can do the rest." "Indeed, 
ma'am, you had best" — "No more, Henry," interrupted 
I. "I am not Mrs. Woodbury." "Why to be sure, 
ma'am, her's was a particular dinner on account of that 
great English lady's dining with her," "Did Miss M. 


dine there ? " "La, yes, ma'am, and I was quite de- 
lighted to see the attention Mr. Clay paid her, for in- 
deed ma'am I consider Mr. Clay the greatest and best 
man now living, and sure I should know, for I served 
him long enough. Oh he is kindness through and 
through and it was but proper, ma'am, that the greatest 
man, should show attention to the greatest lady. He 
sat by her at dinner and talked all the time just to her, 
neither of them eat much. I took particular notice what 
she eat, so I might know another time what to hand 
her, for she dines everywhere, ma'am, and I see her 
taste was very simple. She eat nothing but a little 
Turkey and a mite of ham, nothing else, ma'am, and 
Mr. Clay hardly as much, they were so engaged in con- 
versation. I listened whenever I was near and heard 
them talking about the national debt. Mr. Clay told 
her our debt was paid off and she told him she hoped 
their debt would soon be paid off too, and they con- 
sulted a great deal about it." "Why is Miss M. such 
a great woman, Henry?" "Why, they tells me, ma'am, 
she is the greatest writer in England and her books 
doing monstrous deal of good." "Well, Henry, it is 
for this Lady my dinner is to be, but it is a family din- 
ner, not a ceremonious one. She is to spend the day 
just in a social friendly way with me." "Why, ma'am, 
that is just as it should be, as you are a writer too. 
But indeed, ma'am, if not another besides her was in- 
vited, you ought to have a grand dinner. I should like 
you, ma'am, to do your best. It is a great respect ma'am 
she shows you and a great kindness you show her, and 
I dare say, ma'am, she'll put you in one of her books, 
so you should do your very best." But I carried my 
point in only having 8 dishes of meat, tho' I could not 
convince Henry, it was more genteel than a grander 


dinner. He came the next day, and leaving him and 
the girls as his assistants (for Anna absolutely locked 
me out of the dining room) I sat quietly in the front 
parlour, as if no company was expected. Mrs. Randolph, 
Mrs. Coolidge (Ellen Randolph that was), James Bay- 
ard and B. K. 1 were the only additional guests to Miss 
M. and Miss Jeffrey her companion. About 3, B. K. 
came. I only was in the parlour, the girls were dress- 
ing, presently Ann came down, and told me Miss M. 
and Miss J. were up stairs in my room. "And you left 
them there alone?" exclaimed I. "To be sure answered 
Ann, with her usual nonchalance. I have never been 
introduced to them and they asked me to show them 
to a chamber." "And you let them go in alone!" "To 
be sure." I hastened up stairs and found them combing 
their hair. They had taken off their bonnets and large 
capes. "You see," said Miss M., "we have complied 
with your request and come sociably to pass the day 
with you. We have been walking all the morning, our 
lodgings were too distant to return, so we have done 
as those who have no carriages do in England, when 
they go to pass a social day." I offered her combs, 
brushes, etc. But showing me the enormous pockets in 
her french dress, said they were provided with all that 
was necessary, and pulled out nice little silk shoes, silk 
stockings, a scarf for her neck, little lace mits, a gold 
chain and some other jewelry, and soon without chang- 
ing her dress was prettily equipped for dinner or even- 
ing company. We were all as perfectly at our ease as 
if old friends. Miss M's toilette was soonest completed 
and sitting down by me on the sopha, and handing me 
the tube, we had a nice social chat before we went down 
stairs. I introduced Mr. Smith, my nephews, and son 
1 Bayard Kirkpatrick, her nephew. 

i8 35 ] MRS. SMITH'S GUESTS 363 

&c. Mr. S. took a seat on the sopha by her, and I on 
a chair on her other side, to be near to introduce others. 
It was quite amusing to see Mr. S. He took the tube 
and at first applied its wrong cup to his lips, but in the 
warmth of conversation perpetually forgot it, and as he 
always gesticulates a great deal with his hands, he was 
waving about the cup, quite forgetful of its use, except 
when I said, as I continually had to do, "Put it to your 
lips." But Miss M. has admirable tact and filled up the 
gaps of his part of the conversation, made by the wav- 
ing of the tube, by her intuitive perception and talked 
as fluently of Lord Brougham, Lord Durham and other 
political personages, of whom Mr. S. enquired as if 
she had heard every word. A little after 4, Mrs. Ran- 
dolph and Mrs. Coolidge came. I was glad Mrs. R. 
was so handsomely dressed (in general she disregards 
her toilette) and looked so dignified and well, for I 
wished Miss M. to see the daughter of Jefferson to 
advantage. Mrs. C. looked lovely and elegant. I gave 
Mrs. R. a seat next Miss M. But she said but little 
and afterwards told us, the very touch of the Tube, 
put all her ideas to flight. She went to the contrary 
extreme of Mr. S., and kept the cup pressed so tightly 
on her lips, that she could scarcely open them. Mrs. 
Coolidge managed better, and conversed with perfect 
ease and great fluency until dinner, which was not served 
until five oclock, when the curtains being drawn and 
shutters closed, the candles on the table were lit and 
made every thing look better. Miss M. sat next me, 
Mrs. R. below her, Miss Jeffries led in by B. K. sat 
between him and Mr. S., and was, they say, extremely 
entertaining. J. Bayard sat all the time by Mrs. C, 
the old friend of his sisters and seemed delighted with 
her. Dinner went off very well, I conversed a great 


deal with Miss M., as Mrs. R. would not. Our con- 
versation was very interesting and carried on in a tone 
that all the rest of the company could hear. One fact 
was new and strange. Speaking of the use of ardent 
spirits by the poor, she said its high price precluded its 
use, there were now few gin-shops. Opium had been 
substituted by the poor for gin, and apothecaries boys 
kept constantly busy, making up penny and ha-penny 
worths of opium. It was taken not in sufficient quan- 
tities to exhilerate, but only to stupefy and satisfy the 
cravings of hunger. What a wretched state of society 
does this imply! Her conversation is rich in most in- 
teresting illustrations of manners, facts and opinions 
and what she said at dinner, if written down would fill 
4 or 5 such pages. While at table, a note from Mr. Clay 
was handed me, so handsomely written and so full of 
cimpliments for Miss M. and regrets from being pre- 
vented joining our party in the evening, that I handed 
it to her and she then burst forth in an eloquent eulo- 
gium of him. It was near 7 when we returned to the 
parlour, which was brilliantly lighted, (as I think light 
a great promoter of social pleasure). Mr. King was 
lounging in the rocking chair, quite at his ease. He 
knew Miss M. and instantly sat down on one side of her, 
I on the other. Mr. King 1 engaged her in details about 
the English affairs and great men. She was copious 
and interesting in her details. I wish I could relate 
a hundredth part of what she said, but it is impossible. 
She pronounced Lord Durham (Mr. Lambton, that was) 
to be the greatest man now in England. "He will soon 
be our premier, he will be the savior of England !" said 
she with enthusiasm. He is her greatest and most in- 
timate personal, as well as political friend. All the other 
1 Probably John Pendleton King, Senator from Georgia. 


distinguished men passed in review. It was a rich treat 
to hear her. Her words flow in a continual stream, her 
voice pleasing, her manners quiet and lady-like, her face 
full of intelligence, benevolence and animation. She 
always leans back in the corner of the sopha, seemingly 
unconscious of the presence of any one except the person 
she is talking with. Mr. & Mrs. Frelinghusen and Mrs. 
Burgess (a most lovely young widow), Mrs. Thornton, 
Mrs. Bomford and her family, Mr. & Mrs. Calhoun and 
her 3 young ladies, the Southards, Mr. Palfrey, the 
unitarian clergyman (ours was asked but did not come) 
and about a dozen gentlemen, made up the evening 
party. Mr. Frelinghusen and Mr. Calhoun both sat and 
conversed a great deal with Miss M., and most of the 
company by turns sat a while by her. Mr. Calhoun is 
one of her* greatest admirers, his Mess gave her a din- 
ner, Mrs. Bomford was unexpectedly pleased because 
unexpectedly she felt herself at ease with Miss M. She 
is so simple, plain, good-natured and unaffected, that 
I wonder every one does not feel at ease. Ease and 
animation pervaded the whole of the company, we had 
some delightful singing from the young ladies, Scotch 
songs to perfection. It was n oclock before the party 
broke up. Every one gratified at an opportunity of 
meeting Miss M., in such a quiet, social manner. The 
next day, by appointment, I accompanied Miss M. and 
Miss J. to Kalorama. Anna Maria went with us. In 
a carriage she needs not her tube, but hears distinctly 
without it. In a carriage, too, sitting so close one feels 
so confidential. We rode about from 12 until past three 
and our conversation would fill several sheets. I en- 
quired about her early life, her motives for embracing 
literature as a pursuit, the formation of ner mind, habits 
and opinions, all of which she freely gave me the his- 


tory. and an interesting history it is. "Do tell me," 
said I, "if praise and celebrity, like everything else do 
not lose their relish?" "I never," said she, "had much 
relish for general praise ; the approbation of those I love 
and esteem or respect, I highly value. But newspaper 
praise or censure, are perfectly indifferent to me. The 
most valued advantage I have gained is the facility which 
it gives me to gain access to every person, place or thing 
I desire, this is truly a great advantage." Speaking of 
the lionizing of celebrated people, "Well," said she, 
laughing, "I have escaped that, to my knowledge, I 
have never been made a show of, or run after as a lion." 
Of course, I did not undeceive her. I asked her how 
I should understand an expression she several times 
used "Since I have been employed by government." 
She said, two of the subjects she had illustrated in her 
stories, had been by the request of Lord Brougham and 
Lord Durham, who supplied her with the materials, or 
principles, viz., the Poor-Laws, on Taxation. She was 
employed by them to write on these two subjects, on 
which account she and her mother had removed to Lon- 
don, as the transmission of Phamphlets by the mail, be- 
came too burthensome, frequently requiring her to send 
a wheel-barrow to the Post office. For the last two 
years she and her mother have resided in London, have 
a small house adjoining the Park, which is as quiet and 
pleasant as in the country. Here she had daily inter- 
course with the members of the Cabinet and leaders 
of the whig party, particularly the above-named gentle- 
men. She never makes visits and receives them only 
at 2 specified hours every day, but while Parliament is 
sitting, dines out (at night, remember) every day. 
Once, while at Lord Durham's in the country, at table, 
a gentleman sitting next her observed, "There is one 

i8 3 5] THE NUMIDIAN LION 367 

subject, Miss M., I think your genius admirably calcu- 
lated to illustrate." "What is that," said she, with eager- 
ness glad to be instructed. "The Poor Laws" replied 
he. "Why exclaimed Lord D., in what corner of Eng- 
land have you been living, that you do not know, this is 
the very subject on which she has most ably written." 
"I did, I candidly own," said Miss M., when she told 
me this, "I did feel completely mortified." My paper 
will hold no more. I will soon write again, but as I 
cannot write all this over and it may amuse Maria, I 
wish you would send it to her. Oh how tired my head 
and hands are ! The girls are equally so of holding their 


[Washington] February 14, 1835. 
. . . . Hearing that Congress had placed the Nu- 
midian Lion, at the disposal of the President, she 1 in- 
stantly hurried to him, obtained a private interview, and 
asked him to bestow the Lion on the Orphan Asylum. 
The old general showed so much warmth and kindness 
in acceeding to her request, that she says she was so 
overcome, that she burst into tears and seizing his 
hand, kissed it in the excess of her delight and grati- 
tude. He immediately drew an order on the Secretary 
of State and signing it, gave it to her. She hastened 
to us with the glad tidings and could not tell her story 
without tears. It is for both the Asylums, Protestant 
and Catholic. This morning she has been here to con- 
sult on the best mode of using the bounty. Capt. Riely, 
was here last evening and gave us his opinion, which 
I detailed to her. She took Ann with her and is now 
1 Mrs. Bomford, chief directress of the orphan asylum. 


gone to call on the different Managers, to collect their 
opinions, and will be out I dare say, until 3 or 4 oclock, 
although it is snowing. Whatever she does is with 
her whole heart, in private kindness and friendship she 
is equally zealous. I do love her, and so does every one. 

Last evening we had a delightful fire side circle. All 
were so animated. Mrs. Thornton and Bordeaux, Mrs. 
Newman and Mrs. Woodyer, (Mr. King's relations) 
Mr. King, Mr. Reide and last but not least Capt. Riely. 
He came so apropos to tell us about the Lion. Mrs. 
Newman was delighted to see him and wanted to hear 
from his own mouth his African adventures, 1 so I made 
him put his chair in front of us and tell his story to 
Mrs. Newman, who listened with the simplicity and 
eagerness of a child. On the other side was a party 
at whist and in the centre of the circle gentlemen talk- 
ing politics. We frequently have these little tea drink- 
ings of a dozen or so. 

Miss Martineau has been likewise an exciting object 
lately. I wrote sister a long account of her, and to 
spare myself the repetition requested her to send the 
letter to you. No stranger, excepting La Fayette, ever 
received such universal and marked testimonies of re- 
gard. At first our great men were disposed to laugh 
at her, but now they are her most devoted admirers 
and constant visitants. Mr. Webster, Mr. Clay, Mr. 
Calhoun, Preston, Judge Story and many others often 
visit her and when she goes to the Senate or Court- 
Room leave their seats to converse with her. Besides 
these attentions, they show still more personal evidences 
of regard. Mr. Clay insists on her making his daugh- 
ter's house at New Orleans and his own house in Lex- 

1 He had just returned from a voyage to Morocco and had brought the 
lion as a present from the Sultan to the President. 

Fac-simile of letter from Miss Martineau to Mrs. Smith 

A*^ &** jLi^. 




'- ^u^6r £<2a^ <*J*£<2- t^^ 

drJ^sz^ ^t^oc^y^ &yzr~z*^* &t^a£^ j7^ 

U^t^ <SL for 7 - 3 f2£&+^<2/ btrr~? — ■& 

O+vtr lytn- t^t//, £<£&- 4^cf ^^^^. ^2^ 

fi#6y y£ 


ington her residence while in these places, and Mr. Cal- 
houn, by his letters, will ensure her every kind attention 
in Charleston. Yet all this does not seem to turn her 
head in the least, and so frank, modest and simple are 
her manners and appearance that to meet her in com- 
pany, no one would dream she was so distinguished a 
personage. Perhaps you have seen in the Intelligencer 
my political address to Harriet Martineau. 1 If you 
have not, let me know and I will send you a copy, or 
will ask Sister to send you the one I send her. I can- 
not, just now at least, copy it again. You must let 
me know what you think of it. I sent Miss M. a MSS 
copy, in return she wrote me a very simple, unpretend- 
ing and kind note. On coming home yesterday I found 
her card to take leave, so I shall not see her again. She 
is really interesting in conversation and character, 
though not in appearance. A most original and pow- 
erful genius, and apparently as good as she is great. 
Anna Maria who is not very susceptible of quick im- 
pressions, says she cannot help loving her. Our winter 
is almost over. With us, with me, it has passed as 
pleasantly as it has rapidly. Unmarked by any deep 
or lasting interest, it has glided by like a dream leaving 
no vestige behind. Congress, too, has hitherto been very 
tranquil. Mr. Calhoun's report, 2 however, yesterday has 
broken its quiet. There was great agitation, — some 
personal violence it is said in the Senate, even a duel 
apprehended. The Senate chamber was crowded to 
crushing with ladies. I never go on such squeezing 

Every day brings us as invitation to a Ball or Party, 

1 It was one of a number of addresses in verse to Miss Martineau. The 
one she enjoyed most was to her famous ear-trumpet which was apostro- 
phized "beloved horn!" 

2 On the use of patronage by the President. 


three cards for next week are now lying on the table, 
but we decline all. The gaiety is increasing and so is 
luxury and European habits, hours and fashions. We 
are quiet spectators of the bustling scene, without the 
slightest desire of being actors. I am every moment 
expecting Mrs. Bomford back, her young ladies are to 
remain all day with us and if the weather permits a 
large party of young people are to meet here and go 
in the evening to the exhibition. But I rather think the 
threatening clouds will not disperse, the snow has stopped 
but the clouds are dark and heavy. My paper is full 
and my hand tired, so I will with every kind wish, bid 
you my dear Maria, adieu. 


[Washington] March nth, 1835. 

. . . . Mr. Jacob Abbott 1 came with Dr. S. to 
see me in the morning. His book is much more in- 
teresting than his conversation. Yet in a short visit 
one cannot fairly judge. The Corner Stone, I like bet- 
ter than any work on the same subject I have ever read. 
I like the temper in which it is written, a truly christian 
temper, and consequently felt drawn to the author. I 
wish I could have seen more of him. His book (which 
you sent me) has been travelling ever since from friend 
to friend. I quite want to see it again. I thank you 
for the House Keeper, but have not yet had time to read 
it, I received it only yesterday. 

Are you not sorry you have finished the life and cor- 
respondance of Hannah Moore? I felt as if separated 
from her after a long personal intercourse. I imme- 

*The author of innumerable children's books, including the "Rollo 

i8 3 5] HANNAH MORE'S WORKS 371 

diately got a large volume of her works, but this did 
not supply the loss. Do you know I am disappointed in 
them. I had read all, as they successively appeared and 
remember I then remarked they are too verbose, they 
are often heavy, and after reading Practical piety, you 
have little else to learn from her other works, which 
contain precisely the same sentiments and opinions under 
a different title and in language a little varied. But 
after reading her memoirs, I concluded I must be mis- 
taken. Such universal and lavish praise. Such rapid 
and extensive sales and numerous editions, — such high 
reputation, could only have been effected by intrinsick 
and rare and superior genius. Yes, genius, for simple 
goodness and piety, could not have ensured such suc- 
cess. I therefore resolved to re-peruse her works and 
set eagerly about it. The result is the same, — they are 
very good, but very heavy, the sentiments so heavily 
laden with words, that they drag extremely, and one 
grows weary. The same truths conveyed in fewer 
words would be far more striking and impressive. The 
letters written to an author, are no certain indications of 
the writer's real opinion. When one sends you a book 
you must praise it. It is a pity that so large a portion 
of the Second Vol. is taken up with these complimentary 
letters. You should read Mrs. Montagu's letters, Mrs. 
Carter's life and other cotemporaneous works to keep 
up with the delightful society to which Miss Moore in- 
troduced you. 

I have read Stewart's sketches 1 and agree with you in 
thinking there was an indelicacy in addressing the let- 

1 Charles Samuel Stewart, a chaplain in the navy and a noted traveller. 
"Residence at the Sandwich Islands 1823-25" appeared in 1828, "Visit 
to the South Seas" (2 vols.) in 1831, "Sketches of Society in Great Britain 
and Ireland in 1832" in 1834, the last-named being the book to which Mrs. 
Smith refers. 


ters to dear Virginia, whether a betrothed or not be- 
trothed. The family, Mrs. Southard especially, abso- 
lutely and seriously deny there being any truth in the 
rumour of any designed connection. The letters are 
very inferior to those Mr. Stewart wrote from the Sand- 
wich Islands. One reason, Virginia says, is, that they 
are all mutilated. None of them are given as they were 
written ; the most interesting and confidential parts were 
omitted. I am sorry I did not write by Capt. Riley but 
I did not know until he called to bid us farewell, that he 
was going to New York. When I mentioned you to 
him, he said if I wrote, he would with great pleasure 
carry my letter over to Brooklyn and go to see my sis- 
ter. He is a kind, warm-hearted man and since his 
first introduction to me by my dear Mr. Bleecher, has 
felt like a friend and been quite domesticated in our 
family. He has no talents for conversation and needs 
being drawn out. A general dispersion of the recent 
inhabitants has taken place and Washington is now as 
quiet as a village. How many of the hundreds who 
have separated will never meet again. Ours is a strange 
state of society, made up of persons from all parts not 
only of this country, but of Europe thronging here in 
crowds, eager, bustling, agitated by various- and often 
conflicting interests. No monotony here, every season, 
nay every week and month brings change and variety. 
New faces, new interests, new objects of every kind, 
in politics, fashions, works of art and nature, for ex- 
hibitions of all descriptions are here displayed. When 
lo, Congress adjourns, the curtain drops, the drama is 
over, all is quiet, not to say solitary. To our family it 
makes less difference than to those who live the year 
round in the city. In April we retire from all bustle 
and society. The time for our retreat draws nigh and 

i8 3 5l DEATH OF FRIENDS 373 

I look to it with pleasure. We are as punctual as the 
seasons and with the return of the first of April, go into 
the country. I hope your husband's intended little visit 
will be before our leaving the city, as we can in that 
case have him with us and see more of him than at 
Sidney. ... 


Sidney, 16 April, 1835. Thursday. 
. . . . Since I last wrote, two of my earliest ac- 
quaintances in Washington have been taken from life, 
Mrs. Thurston and Mrs. Diggs. In former years I was 
intimate with both, as well as with Mrs. Cutts and Mrs. 
Van Ness, all conspicuous members of the social and 
fashionable circle of that day. We have been travelling 
the same road and about the same age. They have fin- 
ished their journey, — am I near the end of mine ? How 
many of my cotemporaries have quitted the Stage of 
Life. Some who in youth were united in the same pur- 
suits and by the bond of strong interest and kind feeling. 
Mr. Bleecker, Mr. Woodhull, Mr. Finlay among many 
others. Friends of my youth! Little did I expect to 
outlive either of these. My dear Mrs. Randolph is, I 
hear, very ill. She has been during the whole winter in 
a suffering state of health. I had some interesting rides 
with her on some of the pleasant days of last month. 
The day she dined with Miss Martineau at our house 
was the only visit she has paid for a year, and except 
when I called for her to ride, she never went out. The 
last time, we conversed much of her father. She often 
had to turn aside her head and wipe her eyes. I never 
saw her so much affected by the subject on any previous 
occasion. I was urging her to write an account of the 
last week of his life and the closing scene, which she 


only could entirely and truly do, as she never left him 
for an hour. She only shook her head and wept. I 
wish I could be with her in her illness, but with her five 
daughters around her, I fear there will be no room for 
me. The family this winter has been very large, 8 
grand-children with her. One has long been danger- 
ously ill and another is now attacked with a similar dis- 
ease. They are lovely interesting children, the eldest 
not eight years old. In all she has 24 grand and 3 great 
grand children. I have no friend here whom I more 
tenderly love, and at present suffer much anxiety on 
her account. . . . 

Friday 17. I left off yesterday to read to the girls. 
Marriage, by the author of Inheritance, amused without 
much interesting us and made our needles fly more 
quickly. The parlour looked like a work room, (not 
littered however) 4 females at work, when a carriage 
drove to the door, — in the country quite an event, but 
it was no fashionable visitor, but Mr. Herring, the Edi- 
tor of the National Portrait Gallery, who for a year past 
has been a correspondent of mine. As some return for 
an article I wrote for him he brought me two volumes, 
or sets of this beautiful work, containing 12 numbers a 
vol. He passed several hours with us. He has come 
on to paint some portraits for his Gallery. I am very 
partial, you know I always was, to Painters. Not long 
before I left the city, I made the acquaintance of Durand, 
the Engraver, and likewise a portrait painter, — one of 
the most agreeable acquaintances I made the whole win- 
ter, more so than Miss M. He is so very modest and 
reserved a man that only those who take pains to draw 
him out, would discover his intelligence. He left me a 
little momento of his visit by a beautiful drawing in my 
album of the head of Jefferson. ,.. . . 



[Washington] Christmas day, 1835. 
. . . . Poor Mr. Clay, was laughing and talking 
and joking with some friends when his papers and let- 
ters were brought to him; he naturally first opened the 
letter from home. A friend who was with him, says he 
started up and then fell, as if shot, and his first words 
were "Every tie to life is broken!" 1 He continued that 
day in almost a state of distraction, but has, I am told, 
become more composed, though in the deepest affliction. 
Ann was his pride, as well as his joy and of all his 
children his greatest comfort. She was my favorite, so 
frank, gay, and warm hearted. Her husband was very 
very rich. Their plantation joined Mr. Clay's and af- 
forded a daily intercourse. Of five daughters, she was 
the last, and now she is gone and poor Mrs. Clay in her 
declining age is left alone and bereaved of the support 
and comfort which daughters and only daughters can 
afford. I now, cannot realize that you or I can ever be 
so bereaved, we are so far advanced towards our jour- 
ney's end 


Washn, 31st Deer 1835 

Dear Madam 

I ree'd your kind letter of this date. From no friend 
could condolence, on the occasion of my recent heavy 
affliction, have come more welcomely; but dear Madam 
all the efforts of friendship or of my own mind have 
but little effect on a heart wounded as mine is. My 
1 The story was that he fainted. 


daughter was so good, so dutiful, so affectionate; her 
tastes and sympathies and amusements were so identical 
with my own; she was so interwoven with every plan 
and prospect of passing the remnant of my days, that 
I feel I have sustained a loss which can never be re- 
paired. Henceforward, there is nothing before me in 
this world but duties. 

My poor wife has suffered beyond expression; but 
she has in affliction a resourse — a great resourse — which 
I have not. 1 I will transmit your friendly letter to her 
which, I have no doubt, she will receive as a fresh trib- 
ute from a friendship which I know she has ever highly 

With true regard 

I am sincerely y'rs 

Mrs. M. H. Smith. H. Clay 


[Washington] Feb. 6, 1836. 

. . . . I last week for a wonder went to a large 
party. It was given by our neighbour Commodore 
Rodgers, 2 who has always been a great favorite of mine, 
and as it was so near I ventured. I passed my time very 
quietly and pleasantly, for after looking for a while on 
the crowd in the ball room and ascertaining the fashions 
of the season and contemplated the Lions, Mr. Welles 
and Mr. Power, found a delightful comfortable fauteuil 
in the reception room, where I lounged quite at my ease, 
conversing by turns with my acquaintances. Mrs. 

1 Later in life he was confirmed as a member of the Episcopal 

'The great John Rodgers, first of the line of the family of distinguished 
navy officers. 


Wilkes, 1 by her own desire was introduced to me, and 
told me as an old acquaintance of her mother's she 
had wished to be acquainted and would without cere- 
mony have called to see me first had she not feared 
being intrusive. Of course I must now go to see her, 
which I should be most pleased with doing, (as I found 
her uncommonly pleasing) were it not for her living so 
far, far away from our neighbourhood, too far for me 
to walk. I am ging this morning, likewise to call on the 
Bride, Mrs. Smith, Marion Clark that was. We were 
invited to the wedding party, but only Bayard went. The 
invitations were very general, including strangers as 
well as citizens and the crowd consequently excessive. 
There was scarce a possibility of moving and much less 
of seeing the individuals of this splendid crowd, for the 
dresses I am told were unusually rich and elegant. The 
supper was as rare and as brilliant as our best artists and 
unlimited expenditure could make it. The company in 
small parties went up to look at the table, to feast their 
eyes before its beauty should be destroyed by going up 
to feast their palates. The next morning both bride and 
groom received company. A table as elegantly and 
profusely spread as the night before, with a super- 
abundance of the finest wines, (champagne inclusive) 
were provided up stairs for the gentlemen, while wed- 
ding cake &c, &c, were served in the drawing room for 
the ladies. The throng in the morning equalled the one 
on the previous evening. Expecting this would be the 
case, I deferred my visit, as my head dare not venture 
into crowded places. Dr. and Mrs. Rodgers, Virginia 
Southard and some others of the bridal train, hence 
inmates of the family. Mrs. Rodgers I am told has 

1 Wife of Charles Wilkes, afterwards Rear-Admiral in the Navy, the 
officer who intercepted the British steamer "Trent" in 1861. 


astonished the natives, by the brilliancy and costliness 
and elegance of her wardrobe. "Did you hear of the 
fatal accident that occurred at Mrs. Clark's Saturday 
morning?" said my lady informant, with a long melan- 
choly countenance. "Fatal accident? No, what was 
it ?" "Poor Mrs. Rodgers, only think how unfortunate,'' 
and she paused and looked so mournful that I really felt 
alarmed and exclaimed, "Was she hurt?" "No, but her 
exquisite pocket handkerchief that cost 60 dols was burnt 
up, — a spark flew on it, and the cob-web texture was 
instantly in flames, from which her superb dress like- 
wise suffered irreparably." We laughed heartily at the 
finale of the mournful story. The same lady told us 
such dresses had never before been displayed here. Do 
you know I am half afraid to go this morning to see 
this fine lady, but as a hundredth cousin, I suppose I 
must, seeing as how she is staying with Mrs. Clarke, 
who requested me to call on her. The increasing luxury 
of dress and living in this place, will soon oblige the 
poor-gentry to form a separate association. . . . 


[Washington] Wednesday afternoon, March 28, 1837. 
. . . . Another object of deep interest which has 
engaged me lately, is Mr. Pettrich, the German Sculptor. 
The choice of the Artist who is to do the work in the 
Capitol, is left to the President, and Persico 1 and Pettrich 
are the competitors. Their friends are making all the 
interest they can, (for every thing goes by favor). Mrs. 
Taylor and I are the most zealous suitors on his behalf. 
She with the Presd — I with his bosom friend Mr. Butler. 
I have written him two letters containing Mr. Pettrich's 
1 Persico was the artist selected for the tympanum of the Capitol. 


history &c. Mrs. Butler came to see me in consequence, 
and seemed so tenderly interested, that I have great 
hopes, though she says Mr. B. can say nothing at present. 
I drew up an account of Mr. Pettrich which appeared in 
the Globe and Intelligencer and which Mrs Tayloe is 
going to send to the New York Mirror. She and I have 
kept up a correspondence of notes for a week past and 
are both of us solicitous and impatient for the Presi- 
dent's decision, as we have both during the last winter 
seen poor Mr. P. almost daily. She has been able to do 
much more for him than I have and most liberally as- 
sisted him in the pecuniary way for he has fallen into 
great difficulties. I cannot tell you how much I feel for 
him and his poor little wife. He has such a warm grate- 
ful heart that no one can know him without being in- 
terested for him. I think Mr. and Mrs. Butler will be 
his assisting friends, in case he does not get work, for 
they are most benevolent people — sincere zealous Chris- 
tians. The more I know the beter I like this lovely 
family. Most happy is Mr. Van B. in having such a 
friend and adviser 


Montpellier Sept. ioth 1838. 

Yours, of the 6th my ever dear friend has come to 
make me blush for my delinquency, nor will I now add a 
long apology for an ungracious silence, as is sometimes 
done in such cases, but simply tell you that on my arrival 
at home after a warm and dusty ride, I found myself 
involved in a variety of business — reading, writing, and 
flying about the house, garden, and grove — straining my 
eyes to the height of my spirits, until they became in- 
flamed, and frightened into idleness and to quietly sit- 


ting in drawing-room with my kind connexions and 
neighbours — sometimes talking like the farmeress, and 
often acting the Character from my rocking chair; being 
thus obliged to give up one of my most prized enjoy- 
ments that of corresponding with enlightened and loved 
friends like yourself. 

I rejoice to hear that you, Mr. Smith, Anne, Julia and 
your son, have been well, and wish you could have been 
all here. In truth, I am dissatisfied with the location 
of Montpellier, from which I can never separate myself 
entirely, when I think how happy I should be if it joined 
Washington, where I could see you always, and my 
valued acquaintance also of that city, among the first of 
whom is dear Mrs. Bomford. — I rejoice too that my dear 
Hannah is safe from the eating of grapes — be pleased 
to give her an affectionate kiss from me as well as her 
little daughters. I am gratified at Dr. Sewall's remem- 
brance, and but for recreant eyes, I should have enclosed 
him a book ere this. 

I cannot express dear friend how much I was affected 
at your observations on past attachments, and events, 
unless by showing my resemblance to you, in the de- 
voted and lively affection I bear to my early friends and 
associates — I must refrain however from zvriting much 
more now, than that I will apply to Mrs. Willes and 
some of my own people for the nurse you desire and if 
a suitable opp'y should offer, send her to you — The one 
I loaned Mrs. Randolph was totally unfit for the ser- 
vice of small children. 

Anna has gone to a large party for the day and even- 
ing but I hope will return in time to add her respectful 
love for you, with mine for Mrs. Smith, Anne and Julia 
— for your son too when he returns. A. and myself 
never enjoyed better health than now, and we shall take 

Mrs. James Madison. 
After a water-color by Dr. William Thornton. 


heed of your good counsel by preserving all sorts of 
fruit, which with us has been abundant, as well as 
vegetables, tho' the prospect for a winter store of them, 
is not good. 

When you see our amiable neighbours, of the whole 
square, present me most kindly to them — also to Mrs. 
Lear Mrs. Thornton and Mrs. Graham. 

I left some things of great value to me in my house and 
am glad to find from John's account that the depredation 
did not amount to more than petty larceny. 

Ever your own 
D. P. Madison 


White Sulphur Springs 
Greenbrier Court, July 29, 1839 

My Dear Mother : 

On Sunday afternoon the day I last wrote you I bade 
adieu to Montpelier and its kind and hospitable mistress, 
having spent a few very pleasant and quiet days. Miss 
Payne is as amiable as ever. Two afternoons were 
spent in riding on horseback with Mr. Todd. 1 We took 
such long rides that we did not return until 9 or 10 oclock. 
Mrs. Madison appears to live quietly, as while I was with 
her there was no company, tho' she said that the house 
had been full most of the time since her return. Qn the 
first day she had twenty to dine. We did not reach 
Charlottsville until 12 ocl. that night, having in our 
little stage five persons, two seats and only two horses. 
How inferior the travelling in the South is in every 
respect to that in the North. Here we have bad horses, 
bad vehicles, bad roads, bad public houses, bad bedding, 

1 Mrs. Mndison's graceless son, John Payne Todd. 


dirty, miserably clothed negroes to wait, nothing wear- 
ing the appearance of comfort or neatness; even in the 
little villages you pass every thing bears the aspect of 
the want of comfort and tidiness and finish, the houses 
unpainted, no glass in the windows, and the question is 
often asked of yourself how such houses &c can send 
forth such well dressed and gentlemanly persons. In 
the North the reverse holds good in every instance. 
The traveller sees not only comfort, plenty, prosperity, 
activity, energy, but luxury and elegance and this in 
much newer settled countries than the South. Can it 
be that the existence of slavery creates this difference? 
I remained one day, Monday, in Charlottsville for the 
purpose of visiting its two grand objects of attraction, 
Monticello and the University. These I need not de- 
scribe to you who have already described them much 
better than I could. Mr. Todd at parting gave me a 
letter of introduction to Dr. Griffith one of the Pro- 
fessors, but upon going to the U. I was informed that he 
was absent and as my letter was an open one I took the 
liberty of sending it to one who remained, Dr. Cabel 
who very politely showed me every part. It is a beau- 
tiful institution and in its arrangements &c. surpasses 
any other I have seen. Its library is quite large, a per- 
son dying in Richmond lately left it an addition of 5 or 
6 thousand volumes. 

My feelings upon reaching the summit of Monticello 
and entering the house, took me completely by surprise. 
I rode up the hill at a gallop without thought, but when 
I alighted and looked around me the associations of the 
place began to rush upon my mind and all were melan- 
choly and sad. Around me I beheld nothing but ruin 
and change, rotting terraces, broken cabins, the lawn, 
ploughed up and cattle wandering among Italian mould- 


ering vases, and the place seemed the true representa- 
tive of the fallen fortunes of the great man and his 
family. He died in want, almost his last words were 
that if he lived much longer a negro hut must be his 
dwelling. His family scattered and living upon the 
charity of the world, and to complete the picture the 
simple plain granite stone that marks his resting place 
defaced and broken and not even a common slab or piece 
of wood to distinguish the grave of his loved daughter, 
nothing but the red clay, and all his estate even the dust 
of his body the possession of a stranger. 1 It was with 
difficulty I could restrain my tears, and I could not but 
exclaim, what is human greatness. At Montpelier and 
Mount Vernon no such feelings obtruded themselves. 
All wore the appearance of plenty and no change or mis- 
fortune had overwhelmed them. . . . 


"Walls," it is proverbially said, "have ears," had they 
likewise tongues what important, interesting and amus- 
ing facts could the walls of the President's House re- 
veal. What a variety of characters, of events, of scenes, 
recurs to the mind of one who has watched the muta- 
tions which have taken place in this dwelling of our chief 
magistrates ! Each successive administration seems like 
a complete and separate drama performed by new sets of 
performers. How changed in every respect, both ex- 
ternally and internally is this National Theatre. The 
unfinished and comfortless condition of the presidential 
mansion is well describel by Mrs. Adams, in her recently 
1 From the note book. 


published correspondance. It stood on the wide uncul- 
tivated common, without any enclosure, shelter or orna- 
ment, and so pervious was it to the weather, that rain 
and wind found access even to its best sleeping apart- 
ments. But Mrs. Adams had to endure these discom- 
forts for only a short season, and whatever her husband 
might have felt on descending from his high station, 
she, it may be easily imagined, was glad to return to the 
comfort and tranquility of her own happy home. Then 
came Mr. Jefferson. Borne on the full tide of popu- 
larity, sustained by a strong and triumphant party, with 
what exhileration of spirit must he have entered on his 
new theatre of action. His cabinet was formed of men 
of the highest talents, who were not only political, but 
personal friends, whose opinions, interests and princi- 
ples were so identified with his own, that the different 
views necessarily taken by different minds of the same 
subjects, never produced a discordance destructive of 
unanimity of action. Often has Mr. Jefferson been 
heard to declare this distinguishing characteristic of his 
administration, was the one which he most highly appre- 
ciated. "In fact," said he to a friend, " we were one 

When he took up his residence in the President's 
House, he found it scantily furnished with articles 
brought from Philadelphia and which had been used by 
Genl. Washington. These though worn and faded he 
retained from respect to their former possessor. His 
drawing room was fitted up with the same crimson 
damask furniture that had been used for the same pur- 
pose in Philadelphia. The additional furniture neces- 
sary for the more spacious mansion provided by the gov- 
ernment, was plain and simple to excess. The large 
East room was unfinished and therefore unused. The 

i8 4 i] JEFFERSON'S BIRD 385 

apartment in which he took most interest was his cabi- 
net; this he had arranged according to his own taste 
and convenience. It was a spacious room. In the 
centre was a long table, with drawers on each side, in 
which were deposited not only articles appropriate to the 
place, but a set of carpenter's tools in one and small 
garden implements in another from the use of which he 
derived much amusement. Around the walls were maps, 
globes, charts, books, &c. In the window recesses were 
stands for the flowers and plants which it was his delight 
to attend and among his roses and geraniums was sus- 
pended the cage of his favorite mocking-bird, which he 
cherished with peculiar fondness, not only for its melodi- 
ous powers, but for its uncommon intelligence and af- 
fectionate disposition, of which qualities he gave sur- 
prising instances. It was the constant companion of his 
solitary and studious hours. Whenever he was alone 
he opened the cage and let the bird fly about the room. 
After flitting for a while from one object to another, it 
would alight on his table and regale him with its sweet- 
est notes, or perch on his houlder and take its food from 
his lips. Often when he retired to his chamber it would 
hop up the stairs after him and while he took his siesta, 
would sit on his couch and pour forth its melodious 
strains. How he loved this bird! How he loved his 
flowers ! He could not live without something to love, 
and in the absence of his darling grandchildren, his bird 
and his flowers became objects of tender care. In a 
man of such dispositions, such tastes, who would recog- 
nize the rude, unpolished Democrat, which foreigners 
and political enemies described him to be. Although 
Sir Augustus Foster 1 in his notes lately published has 

1 In the Quarterly Review, 1841. Henry Adams in his History of the 
United States (vol. i, p. 186) quotes it, but it is without doubt a carica- 
ture of Jefferson. 


thus depicted Mr. Jefferson, he candidly says, he be- 
lieved his careless toilette and unceremonious manners 
to be mere affectation, assumed to win popularity. The 
picture this gentleman has drawn of Mr. Jefferson is a 
mere characature, in which those who personally knew 
him cannot discover a trait of resemblance. If his dress 
was plain, unstudied and sometimes old-fashioned in its 
form, it was always of the finest materials; in his per- 
sonal habits he was fastidiously neat ; and if in his man- 
ners he was simple, affable and unceremonious, it was 
not because he was ignorant of, but because he despised 
the conventional and artificial usages of courts and fash- 
ionable life. His simplicity never degenerated into vul- 
garity, nor his affability into familiarity. On the con- 
trary there was a natural and quiet dignity in his de- 
meanour that often produced a degree of restraint in 
those who conversed with him, unfavorable to that free 
interchange of thoughts and feelings which constitute 
the greatest charm of social life. His residence in for- 
eign courts never imparted that polish to his manners, 
which courts require, and though possessed of ease, they 
were deficient in grace. His external appearance had 
no pretentions to elegance, but it was neither coarse nor 
awkward, and it must be owned his greatest personal 
attraction was a countenance beaming with benevolence 
and intelligence. 

He was called even by his friends, a national man, full 
of odd fancies in little things and it must be confessed 
that his local and domestic arrangements were full of 
contrivances, or conveniences as he called them, pecu- 
liarly his own and never met with in other houses. Too 
often the practical was sacrificed to the fanciful, as was 
evident to the most superficial observer, in the location 
and structure of his house at Monticello. "What could 


have induced your father," asked a friend, "to build his 
house on this high peak, a place so difficult of access, 
where every drop of water must be brought from the 
bottom of the mountain and where the soil is so parched 
and sterile that it is to be feared his lawn, his shrubbery, 
his garden will be all burned up." "I have heard my 
father say," replied his daughter, "that when quite a 
boy the top of this mountain was his favorite retreat, 
here he would bring his books to study, here would pass 
his holiday and leisure hours : that he never wearied of 
gazing on the sublime and beautiful scenery that spread 
around, bounded only by the horizon, or the far off 
mountains; and that the indescribable delight he here 
enjoyed so attached him to this spot, that he determined 
when arrived at manhood he would here build his family 

The same fanciful disposition characterized all his 
architectural plans and domestic arrangements ; and even 
in the President's House were introduced some of these 
favorite contrivances, many of them really useful and 
convenient. Among these, there was in his dining room 
an invention for introducing and removing the dinner 
without the opening and shutting of doors. A set of 
circular shelves were so contrived in the wall, that on 
touching a spring they turned into the room loaded with 
the dishes placed on them by the servants without the 
wall, and by the same process the removed dishes were 
conveyed out of the room. When he had any persons 
dining with him, with whom he wished to enjoy a free 
and unrestricted flow of conversation, the number of 
persons at table never exceed four, and by each indi- 
vidual was placed a dumb-waiter, 1 containing everything 

1 Mrs. Smith describes the dumb-waiter in "A Winter in Washington" 
Vol. II, p. 34. 


necessary for the progress of the dinner from beginning 
to end, so as to make the attendance of servants entirely 
unnecessary, believing as he did, that much of the domes- 
tic and even public discord was produced by the muti- 
lated and misconstructed repetition of free conversation 
at dinner tables, by these mute but not inattentive lis- 
teners. William McClure and Caleb Lowndes, both 
distinguished and well-known citizens of Philadelphia 
were invited together to one of these dinners. Mr. Mc- 
Clure who had travelled over great part of Europe and 
after a long residence in Paris had just returned to the 
U. States, could of course impart a great deal of impor- 
tant and interesting information with an accuracy and 
fullness unattainable through the medium of letters. 
Interesting as were the topics of his discourse, Mr. Jef- 
ferson gave him his whole attention, but closely as he 
listened, Mr. McClure spoke so low, that although seated 
by his side, the president scarcely heard half that was 
said. "You need not speak so low," said Mr. Jefferson 
smiling, "you see we are alone, and oar zvalls have no 
ears." "I have so long been living in Paris, where the 
walls have ears," replied Mr. McClure, "that I have con- 
tracted this habit of speaking in an undertone." He 
then described the system of espionage established 
throughout France whose vigilance pervaded the most 
private circles and retired families, among whose serv- 
ants one was sure to be in the employment of the 

At his usual dinner parties the company seldom or 
ever exceeded fourteen, including himself and his sec- 
retary. The invitations were not given promiscuously, 
or as has been done of late years, alphabetically, but his 
guests were generally selected in reference to their 
tastes, habits and suitability in all respects, which atten- 


tion had a wonderful effect in making his parties more 
agreeable, than dinner parties usually are; this limited 
number prevented the company's forming little knots 
and carrying on in undertones separate conversations, a 
custom so common and almost unavoidable in a large 
party. At Mr. Jefferson's table the conversation was 
general; every guest was entertained and interested in 
whatever topic was discussed. To each an opportunity- 
was offered for the exercise of his colqquial powers and 
the stream of conversation thus enriched by such various 
contributions flowed on full, free and animated : of course 
he took the lead and gave the tone, with a tact so true and 
discriminating that he seldom missed his aim, which was 
to draw forth the talents and information of each and all 
of his guests and to place every one in an advantageous 
light and by being pleased with themselves, be enabled to 
please others. Did he perceive any one individual silent 
and unattended to, he would make him the object of his 
peculiar attention and in a manner apparently the most 
undesigning would draw him into notice and make him 
a participator in the general conversation. One instance 
will be given, which will better illustrate this trait in Mr. 
Jefferson's manners of presiding at his table, than any 
verbal description. On an occasion when the company 
was composed of several distinguished persons and the 
conversation earnest and animated, one individual re- 
mained silent and unnoticed; he had just arrived from 
Europe, where he had so long been a resident, that on 
his return he felt himself a stranger in his own country 
and was totally unknown to the present company. Af- 
ter, seemingly, without design led the conversation to 
the desired point, Mr. Jefferson turning to this individual 
said, "To you Mr. C, we are indebted to this benefit, no 
one more deserves the gratitude of his country." Every 


eye was turned on the hitherto unobserved guest, who 
honestly looked as much astonished as any one in the 
company. The President continued, "Yes, Sir, the up- 
land rice which you sent from Algiers, and which thus 
far succeeds, will, when generally adopted by the plant- 
ers, prove an inestimable blessing to our Southern 
states." At once, Mr. C. who had been a mere cypher 
in this intelligent circle, became a person of importance 
and took a large share in the conversation that ensued. 
When Mr. Jefferson took up his residence in Wash- 
ington, on becoming the President of the U. S. he did 
not forget that he was a fellow citizen of its inhabitants. 
While Congress was in session, his invitations were lim- 
ited to the members of this body, to official characters and 
to strangers of distinction. But during its recess, the 
respectable citizens of Alexandria, George Town and 
Washington were generally and frequently invited to 
his table. On one occasion the Mayor of George Town 
and his wife were among the guests and the place of 
honor, on Mr. Jefferson's right hand was assigned to her. 
She was a plain, uneducated woman, but wishing to do 
her prettiest, she thought she must talk to the President 
and having heard his name in some way, though she 
knew not how, coupled with Carter's mountain, she made 
a still more awkward inquiry of him, than Madm Talley- 
rand made of Volney when he dined at her husband's 
table, for turning to Mr. Jefferson, she asked him if he 
did not live close by Carter's mountain." * "Very close," 
he replied, "it is the adjoining mountain to Monticello." 
"I suppose its a very convenient pleasant place," per- 

1 During the revolution the British under Tarlton invaded Charlottes- 
ville where the legislature was temporarily sitting, and Jefferson, who was 
Governor of Virginia at the time, fled to Carter's Mountain to avoid capture. 
His enemies said he was a coward, but he would have been a fool if he had 
not run away. 


sisted the lady not observing the significant frown of her 
husband, or the inexpressible smiles of the rest of the 

"Why, yes," answered Mr. Jefferson, smiling, "I cer- 
tainly found it so, in the war' time." Being puzzled by 
this reply and catching a glimpse of her husband's coun- 
tenance, she forbore any further inquiries on the sub- 
ject, and not being able to think of any else to say in 
which the President might be interested, she remained 
silent during the rest of the entertainment. 

One circumstance, though minute in itself, had cer- 
tainly a great influence on the conversational powers of 
Mr. Jefferson's guests. Instead of being arrayed in 
strait parallel lines, where they could not see the coun- 
tenances of those who sat on the same side, they en- 
circled a round, or oval table where all could see each 
others faces, and feel the animating influence of looks 
as well as of words. Let any dinner giver try the ex- 
periment and he will certainly be convinced of the truth 
of this fact. A small, well assorted company, seated 
around a circular table will ensure more social enjoy- 
ment, than any of the appliances of wealth and splen- 
dour, without these concomitants. 

The whole of Mr. Jefferson's domestic establishment 
at the Presidents House exhibited good taste and good 
judgement. He employed none but the best and most 
respectable persons in his service. His maitre-d'hotel 
had served in some of the first families abroad, and 
understood his business to perfection. The excellence 
and superior skill of his French cook was acknowledged 
by all who frequented his table, for never before had 
such dinners been given in the President's House, nor 
such a variety of the finest and most costly wines. In 
his entertainments, republican simplicity was united to 


Epicurean delicacy ; while the absence of splendour orna- 
ment and profusion was more than compensated by the 
neatness, order and elegant sufficiency that pervaded the 
whole establishment. 

He secured the best services of the best domestics, 
not only by the highest wages, but more especially by 
his uniform justice, moderation and kindness and by the 
interest he took in their comfort and welfare. Without 
an individual exception they all became personally at- 
tached to him and it was remarked by an inmate of his 
family, that their watchful cheerful attendance, seemed 
more like that of humble friends, than mercenary meni- 
als. During the whole time of his residence here, no 
changes, no dismissions took place in his well-ordered 
household and when that time expired each individual 
on leaving his service, was enabled by his generous inter- 
ference, to form some advantageous establishment for 
themselves, and in losing him felt as if they had lost 
a father. In sickness he was peculiarly attentive to their 
wants and sufferings, sacrificing his own convenience to 
their ease and comfort. On one occasion when the fam- 
ily of one of his domestics had the whooping cough, he 
wrote to a lady who resided at some distance from the 
city, requesting her to send him the receipt for a remedy, 
which he had heard her say had proved effectual in the 
case of her own children when labouring under this 
disease. This lady relates another instance of his kind 
consideration; she noticed a piece of furniture, of a 
rather singular form as she was passing through a small 
parlour leaning on his arm and struck by its beauty as 
well as novelty, stopped to enquire its use. He touched 
a spring, the little doors flew open, and disclosed within, 
a goblet of water, a decanter of wine, a plate of light 
cakes, and a night-taper. "I often sit up late," said he, 


"and my wants are thus provided for without keeping 
a servant up." 

The place of coachman, was little more than a sinecure, 
as his handsome chariot and four beautiful horses, were 
never used except when his daughters visited him. He 
paid no visits and when he took his daily ride, it was 
always on horseback and alone. It was then he enjoyed 
solitude, surrounded only by the works of nature of 
which he was a fond lover and great admirer. He used 
to explore the most lonely paths, the wildest scenes 
among the hills and woods of the surrounding country, 
and along the high and wooded banks of the Potomac. 
He was passionately fond of botany, not a plant from the 
lowliest weed to the loftiest tree escaped his notice, dis- 
mounting from his horse he would climb rocks, or wade 
through swamps to obtain any plant he discovered or 
desired and seldom returned from these excursions with- 
out a variety of specimens of the plants he had met 
with. . . . 

He was very anxious to improve the ground around 
the President's House ; but as Congress would make no 
appropriation for this and similar objects, he was obliged 
to abandon the idea, and content himself with enclosing 
it with a common stone wall and sewing it down in 
grass. Afterwards when the grisly Bears, brought by 
Capt Lewis from the far west, (where he had been 
to explore the course of the Missouri,) were confined 
within this enclosure a witty federalist called it the 
President's bear-garden. How the federalists delighted 
to turn all Mr. Jefferson did or said into ridicule! 
In planning the improvement of these grounds, it was 
Mr. Jefferson's design to have planted them exclusively 
with Trees, shrubs and flowers indigenous to our native 
soil. He had a long list made out in which they were 


arranged according to their forms and colours and the 
seasons in which they flourished. To him it would have 
been a high gratification to have improved and orna- 
mented our infant City. But the only thing he could 
effect, was planting Pennsylvania Avenue with Lombard 
Poplars, which he designed only for a temporary shade, 
until Willow oaks, (a favorite tree of his) could attain 
a sufficient size. But this plan had to be relinquished as 
well as many others from the want of funds. 

By his desire, our Consuls at every foreign port, col- 
lected and transmitted to him seeds of the finest vege- 
tables and fruits that were grown in the countries where 
they resided. These he would distribute among the 
market-gardeners in the City (for at that time there 
was abundant space, not only for gardens, but little 
farms, within the City bounds), not sending them but 
giving himself and accompanying his gifts with the in- 
formation necessary for their proper culture and man- 
agement, and afterwards occasionally calling to watch 
the progress of their growth. This excited the emula- 
tion of our horticulturists, and was the means of greatly 
improving our markets. For their further encourage- 
ment, the President ordered his steward to give the 
highest prices for the earliest and best products of these 
gardens. There were .two nursery-gardens he took 
peculiar delight in, partly on account of their romantic 
and picturesque location and the beautiful rides that led 
to them, but chiefly because he discovered in their pro- 
prietors, an uncommon degree of scientific information, 
united with an enthusiastic love of their occupation. 
Mr. Mayne, a shrewd, intelligent, warm hearted Scotch- 
man, rough as he was in his manners and appearance, 
could not be known, without being personally liked. It 
was he who introduced into this section of our country, 


the use of the American Thorn for hedges. This was the 
favorite, though not exclusive object of his zealous in- 
dustry. Rare fruits and flowers were his pride and 
delight : this similarity of tastes made Mr. Jefferson find 
peculiar pleasure, in furnishing him with foreign plants 
and seeds, and in visiting his plantations on the high 
banks of the Potomac. Although the President made 
no visits in the city, he would often call on acquaintances, 
whose houses he passed in his rides, and show a lively 
interest in their rural improvements ; with such he would 
always share the plants and seeds* he received from 
abroad. Mr. Jefferson was known in Europe as much, 
if not more, as a philosopher, than as a politician. Mr. 
Jefferson's acquaintance in this wide and distinguished 
circle in Paris, made him well known throughout Eu- 
rope, and when he became President his reputation as a 
Philosopher and man of letters brought many literary 
and scientific foreigners to our country. Among others 
Baron Humboldt, one day in answer to some enquiries 
addressed to this celebrated traveller, he replied, "I have 
come not to see your great Rivers and Mountains, but 
to become acquainted with your great-men." Of these, 
he held Mr. Jefferson in the highest estimation. Soon 
after the Baron's arrival on our shores, he hastened to 
Washington, and during his visit to our city, passed many 
hours of every day with Mr. Jefferson. Baron Hum- 
boldt, formed not his estimate of men and manners, by 
their habiliments and conventionalisms, and refined as 
were his tastes, and polished as were his manners, he was 
neither shocked or disgusted, as was the case with the 
British Minister (Mr. Foster) by the old fashioned 
form, ill-chosen colours, or simple material of the Pres- 
ident's dress. Neither did he remark the deficiency of 
elegance in his person, or of polish in his manners, but 


indifferent to these external and extrinsic circumstances, 
he easily discerned, and most highly appreciated the in- 
trinsic qualities of the Philosophic Statesman through 
even the homely costume, which had concealed them 
from the ken of the fastidious diplomat. 

Were all travellers like Baron Humboldt, they would 
obtain much more correct and extensive information of 
the countries and people they visited, than is too com- 
monly the case. He was most truly a citizen of the 
world, and wherever he went he felt himself perfectly 
at home. Under all governments, in all climes, he rec- 
ognized man as his brother. Kind, frank, cordial in 
his disposition, expansive and enlightened in his views, 
his sympathies were never chilled, his opinions never 
warped by prejudice. The varieties of condition, of 
character, of customs he met with among the nations he 
visited, were never subjected to the test of his own feel- 
ings and perceptions, but tried by the universal standard 
of abstract principles of utility, justice, goodness. 

His visits at the President's-House, were unshackled 
by mere ceremony and not limited to any particular 
hour. One evening he called about twilight and being 
shown into the drawing room without being announced, 
he found Mr. Jefferson seated on the floor, surrounded 
by half a dozen of his little grandchildren so eagerly and 
noisily engaged in a game of romps that for some mo- 
ments his entrance was not perceived. When his pres- 
ence was discovered Mr. Jefferson rose up and shaking 
hands with him, said, "you have found me playing the 
fool Baron, but I am sure to you I need make no appol- 
ogy." 1 

Another time he called of a morning and was taken 
into the Cabinet; as he sat by the table, among the 
1 This appears in "A Winter in Washington," Vol. II, p. 34. 


newspapers that were scattered about, he perceived one, 
that was always filled with the most virulent abuse of 
Mr. Jefferson, calumnies the most offensive, personal 
as well as political. "Why are these libels allowed ?" 
asked the Baron taking up the paper, "why is not this 
libelous journal suppressed, or its Editor at least, fined 
and imprisoned ?" 

Mr. Jefferson smiled, saying, "Put that paper in your 
pocket Baron, and should you hear the reality of our 
liberty, the freedom of our press, questioned, show this 
paper, and tell where you found it." 1 

Baron Humboldt was fond of repeating these and other 
similar anecdotes of the man he so much admired. 

A French traveller of distinction, who was often with 
Mr. Jefferson, mentioned that having accompanied hifn 
one day to review the militia of the district, as they rode 
along he expressed his surprise that the President of the 
U. S. who was commander in chief of our military forces 
should on this occasion go in his citizen's dress, instead 
of wearing a military uniform, and enquired his reason 
for so doing, "To show," replied Mr. Jefferson, "that 
the civil is superior to the military power." 2 

When this traveller returned to France, among other 
enquiries made of him by the Emperor, Napoleon asked 
him, "what sort of government is that of the U. S.?" 
"One, Sire," replied he, "that is neither seen or felt." 

Mr. Jefferson had no levees, but received visitors 
every morning at certain hours, excepting on New 
Year's-day and the Fourth of July. On these grand oc- 
casions not only the President's House, but the city was 
thronged with visitors from George Town, Alexandria 
and the surrounding country. They were national festi- 

1 See "A Winter in Washington," Vol. II, p. 37. 

2 This appears in "A Winter in Washington," Vol. I, p. 202. 


vals, on which the doors of the Presidential mansion 
were thrown open for persons of all classes, where 
abundance of refreshments were provided for their 
entertainment. On Mr. Jefferson's accession to the 
Presidency the Mayor and corporation had waited on 
him, requesting to be informed, which was his birthday, 
as they wished to celebrate it with proper respect. 
"The only birthday I ever commemorate," replied he, 
"is that of our Independence, the Fourth of July." * 
During his administration it was in truth a gala-day in 
our city. The well uniformed and well appointed militia 
of the district, the Marine-Corps and often other 
military companies, paraded through the avenues and 
formed on the open space in front of the President's 
House, their gay appearance and martial musick, en- 
livening the scene, exhilerating the spirits of the throngs 
of people who poured in from the country and adjacent 
towns. At that time there were no buildings no in- 
cisures in the vicinity of the President's house, but a 
wide extended pleasant and grassy common, where the 
inhabitants found pleasant walks and the herds and 
flocks abundant pasture. It exhibited really a charm- 
ing and lively scene on this national festival. Tempo- 
rary tents and boothes were scattered over the surface, 
for the accomodation of the gay crowds, who here 
amused themselves and from whence there was a good 
view of the troops as they marched in front of the Pres- 
ident's-House ; and of the President, the heads of De- 
partments and the foreign ministers who stood around 
him on the high steps of the house, receiving and re- 
turning their salutations as they passed in review. Mr. 
Jefferson's tall figure and grey locks waving in the air, 
(for he always on these occasions stood with uncovered 

1 See "A Winter in Washington," Vol. I, p. 1 1. 


head), was easily distinguished among the other official 
personages who surrounded him. After this review, 
the soldiers were dismissed to mingle with their fellow 
citizens on the common, while the officers in a body went 
to the President's-house, where the great Hall, (not then 
divided, as it now is 1 ) and all the reception rooms were 
filled with company; displaying to advantage the col- 
lected beauty and fashion, the wealth and respectability 
of the residents of the District of Columbia. Tables in 
each corner of the largest-room were covered with con- 
fectionary, wines, punch, lemonade, etc. where without 
the intervention of servants, the company could partake 
of their refreshments. There was little form or cere- 
mony observed at these re-unions. Every one as they 
entered shook hands with the President, who stood with 
a cheerful kindly countenance and cordial manner, in the 
centre of the Drawing-Room 2 to receive the company; 
each one after the interchange of a few sentences, gave 
place to others and mingled with the various groups that 
promenaded the other apartments. The national airs 
played by the Marine Band, which was stationed in 
the Hall, awakened patriotic feelings, as well as gaiety. 
No one could forget that it was the Fourth of July! 

About three oclock the company would disperse, the 
ladies to return home, the gentlemen to re-assemble at 
the great public dinner, where the most respectable cit- 
izens and all persons connected with the government, 
(the President, excepted,) together with the Foreign 
ministers, united in celebrating the day with musick, 
wine and eloquence ; for the toasts given on the occasion 
were always followed with a speech or a song. Such 
forty years ago, was the manner in which the Fourth 

1 It was restored by Mr. McKim in 1902. 

2 Now known as the blue room. 


of July was commemorated in Washington. What a 
change since then! 

The first of January, the only other public reception 
day, the same out-of-door hilarity could not, of course, 
take place. The military companies after parade were 
dismissed, with exception of the officers, who with other 
citizens thronged to the President's House. Here the 
arrangements were the same as on the Fourth of July. 
Congress being in session, the company of course was 
more numerous and interesting, strangers of distinction 
from all parts of the Union at this season resorted to the 
seat of government ; even our savage brethren from the 
woods and wilds of the Far west. On one occasion de- 
scribed by Sir A. Foster in his "Notices of the U. S" he 
seems to think the President failed in paying due respect 
to the gentlemen of the diplomatic corps. "The Presi- 
dent took care to show his preference on New Year's 
day, by giving us, (the diplomatic corps) only a bow, 
while with them he entered into a long conversation." 
(Foster's Notes on U. S.). 

It really may have been so, and not only the Pres- 
ident but the whole assembled company may have par- 
ticipated in this neglect, so lively was the interest and 
the curiosity excited by the appearance of the Osage- 
Chiefs and their attendant squaws. And likewise of the 
Tunisan Minister, Meley Meley, and his splendid and 
numerous suite. 1 It must be confessed that in their 
turbaned heads, their bearded faces, their Turkish cos- 
tume, rich as silk, velvet, cashmere, gold and pearls 
could make it, attracted more general and marked 
attention than the more familiar appearance of the 
European Ministers. These two embassies, one from 

J See "A Winter in Washington," Vol. I, p. 23 for an account of the 
Indians, and the same p. 20 for the Tunisian minister. 


Africa the other from the wilderness of the Far West, 
were so unique, so extraordinary, so strangely contrasted, 
that they were irresistibly attractive to the company at 
large, though it seems scarcely possible that the Presi- 
dent should have been so exclusive in his attention to 
savage chieftans, as to have neglected proper civilities 
to the representatives of royalty, however anxious he 
might have been to court democratic popularity, the rea- 
son assigned by the writer for his plain dress and plain 

These Osages, were noble specimens of the human- 
race, and would have afforded fine studies for the painter 
or sculptor. Tall, erect, finely proportioned and ma- 
jectic in their appearance, dignified, graceful and lofty 
in their demeanour, they seemed to be nature's own 
nobility. By the President's desire they appeared in 
their own national costume. In their deer-skin mocco- 
sions and cloth leggings ornamented with embroidery 
and fringes of coloured beads, their faces and bodies in 
full paint, or as we would say in full dress and covered 
with blankets, worn as Spaniards wear their cloaks, 
wrapped gracefully around, leaving the right arm free. 
With the exception of a tuft of hair on the crown, 
the head was entirely and smoothly shaven. Ear-rings, 
armlets, and a silver medal of Washington, their great 
father, suspended round the neck, completed their toi- 
lette. The habiliments of their wives had been left 
to the taste of the lady of the Secretary of war, and 
great was her difficulty in deciding, what they should be. 
Some of the ladies whom she called to the consultation, 
proposed silks and satins of the gaudiest colours, others 
were for showy and rich chintzes. One, rather a ro- 
mantic lady, who loved the picturesque, voted for the 
blankets, and other simple articles belonging to their 


wildwood costume. The middle course was adopted, and 
short gowns and petticoats were provided for them of 
showy, large figured chintz, without any trinkets or orna- 
ments, these being exclusively appropriated to the lords 
of creation. A lady placed a bunch of artificial flowers 
in the hair of one of these women, who instantly, in- 
stinctively as it were, drew it out, carried it to her hus- 
band and stuck it behind his ear ; he received it as his due 
and as a matter of course. 

One would have supposed in a scene so novel and 
imposing as was that day exhibited to these sons of the 
Forest, that some indication of curiosity or surprise might 
have been discovered in words, looks or gestures, but 
not the slightest emotion of any kind was visible. Im- 
perturbable as the rocks of their savage homes, they 
stood in a kind of dignified and majestic stillness, calmly 
looking on the gay and bustling scene around them. But 
no one that looked on their finely formed features and in- 
telligent countenances could have mistaken their imper- 
turbability for stupidity, — it was evidently the pride of the 
stoic, dispising and therefore subduing the indulgence of 
natural feeling. Mr. Jefferson who had long and deeply 
studied the character of our aboriginees told a friend 
with whom he was conversing on this subject, that he 
had on various occasions made many experiments, and 
endeavours by the exhibition of the most striking and 
curious objects to elicit some expression of astonishment 
or surprise, but never, except in a single instance, suc- 
ceeded in exacting any obvious emotion, and this was on 
an occasion when he had the chiefs of a remote tribe to 
dine with him. During the progress of dinner, strange 
and incomprehensible as every object around them must 
have been, and distasteful as, probably the mode of 
cooking was, they exhibited no emotion whatever, until 

i8 4 i] ICE IN MID-SUMMER 403 

the wine, in coolers filled with ice were placed on table. 
On seeing the ice, one of the chiefs looked on the others 
with an expression of doubt and surprise, to which their 
looks responded. To satisfy the doubt evidently felt by 
all, the elder chief took hold of a piece of ice, started 
when he felt it, and handed it to his companions, who 
seemed equally startled. It must be noticed, that it was 
a hot day in July. The indians after being convinced 
it was ice, began talking to each other with eagerness 
and vehemence. Mr. Jefferson turned to the interpre- 
ter for an explanation. "We now believe," said the 
chief, "that what our brothers told us when they came 
back from the great cities was all true, though at the 
time we thought they were telling us lies, when they told 
us of all the strange things they saw, for they never saw 
anything so wonderful as this that we now see and feel. 
Ice in the middle of summer ! We now can believe any- 
thing!" Meley-Meley expressed a most lively interest 
about these Osages. He examined their forms coun- 
tenances and habits and was particularly struck by the 
mode in which their heads were shaved, leaving only 
a tuft of hair on the crown. He took off his turban and 
showed them that his head was shaven after the same 
fashion, and enquired if their people had always worn it 
so. "Who then were your fathers? where did your 
fathers come from? did they come from my country? 
for in this and other things you do, you are like my 
people, and our father was Ishmael." Such were some 
of the observations Meley-Meley made through the 
medium of their respective interpreters. 

The Tunisan minister was the lion of the season and 
during the winter, he and his splendid suite were in- 
vited to all the fashionable parties, where he could not 
conceal his astonishment at the freedom with which he 


was accosted by our ladies and the general liberty al- 
lowed them in society. He brought most sumptuous 
presents for the officers of government and likewise their 
wives. But in compliance with our laws, these presents 
could not be accepted, to return them would be an of- 
fence to the government by whom they were sent, the 
only course that could be devised was to have them pub- 
licly sold. And sold they were much to the regret of the 
ladies to whom they had been presented. Rich cash- 
mere shawls, and robes, a superb silver dressing-case, 
rare essences and other splendid articles for female use, 
were all disposed of. The articles designed for the 
officers of governments, such as curious and richly inlaid 
sabres, muskets etc. were deposited in the State-Depart- 
ment, where they are still to be seen, together with sim- 
ilar presents from other governments. 1 

When Mr. Jefferson's daughters were with him they 
visited and received visits on exactly the same terms as 
other ladies in the same society. There had been a 
great deal of difficulty about points of etiquette with 
foreign ministers. The President had decided that 
our home ministers (viz, heads of Departments) should 
take precedence of foreign ministers, and that the sen- 
ators should receive the first visit from our own, as well 
as foreign ministers. Exceptions were taken to both 
these regulations and a really serious matter made of 
it by the English minister, Mr. Merry, who threatened 
an appeal to his government. 2 When Mrs. R. Mr. Jef- 
ferson's daughter, arived, Mrs. Merry wrote her a note 
requesting to be informed, whether she wished to be 
visited as the wife of a member of congress, or as the 

1 Very few are now there, the greater part having been deposited with the 
National Museum. 

2 It is a well-known story. Mrs. Merry inspired the dispute and her hus- 
band nursed it till it grew into an international incident. 


daughter of the President. Mrs. R. replied, she claimed 
no distinction whatever, but wished only for the same 
consideration extended to other strangers. Even when 
his daughters were with him, Mr. Jefferson never had 
Drawing-rooms, or even private evening parties and 
only such as were on terms of personal intimacy ever 
made evening visits to the President's House. His 
friends and intimate acquaintance enjoyed in these even- 
ing visits all the ease and freedom of the domestic circle. 
Mr. Jefferson, democrat as he was, and accessible as he 
was to all classes of his fellow citizens, contrived to se- 
cure to himself the pleasure of a select and refined 
society, without resorting to any of the offensive and 
exclusive forms and ceremonies, which in European 
society constitute the barriers which separate the differ- 
ent orders of society. His personal demeanor, simple 
and affable as it was, had a restraining dignity which re- 
pressed undue familiarity and prevented the intrusion of 
promiscuous or undesired visitants. In this home-circle, 
if it may be so called, Mr. Jefferson appeared to the 
greatest advantage as a man. Public station and public 
cares were equally laid side, while the father of the 
family, the friend, the companion, the man of letters, 
the philosopher, charmed all who were thus admitted to 
his private society. His grand-children would steal to 
his side, while he was conversing with his friends, and 
climb his knee, or lean against his shoulder, and he with^ 
out interrupting the flow of conversation would quietly 
caress them. Frank and communicative, (as some said 
even to excess,) he would talk of any thing and every 
thing that interested these around him. Some of his 
friends most delighted in hearing him talk of himself, 
of his residence abroad, the character and scenes that 
there fell under his observation, these, he delineated 


with such vividness and fidelity that the impressions 
originally made on himself were transferred to his 
hearers and that kind of sympathy was excited, which 
mingles mind with mind and heart with heart. 

Those who have enjoyed his society in the home-circle 
will acknowledge that it was there they most admired 
and loved Mr. Jefferson, and will thus justify an asser- 
tion of one of his most violent and imbittered political 
opponents. "No one," said Judge P[a]tt[erso]n, 
(Judge of the Supreme Court), "can know Mr. Jeffer- 
son and be his personal enemy. , Few, if any, are more 
oposed to him as a politician than I am, and until re- 
cently I utterly disliked him as a man as well as a 
politician. And how was that dislike removed? By 
travelling together, three day. I was on one of my 
southern circuits, and in a public stage found myself 
seated by his side. I did not know who he was, neither 
did he know me for the first day we travelled together, 
but conversed like travellers on general and common 
place subjects. By degrees the conversation became 
more specific and interesting, political as well as other 
topics were discussed. I was highly pleased with his 
remarks, for though we differed on many points he dis- 
played an impartiality, a freedom from prejudice, that 
at that period were unusual. There was a mildness and 
amenity in his voice and manner that at once softened 
any of the asperities of />ar/y-spirit that I felt, for of 
course we did not converse long without the mutual 
discovery that he was a democrat and I a federalist. At 
the conclusion of our day's journey, when we left the 
carriage, the first greeting of the host, made known to 
me that my fellow traveller was Mr. Jefferson. He 
soon informed himself of my name. We travelled two 
other days together and at the end of our journey, parted 


friends, though still as politicians, diametrically opposed ; 
I repeat that no man can be personally acquainted with 
Mr. Jefferson and remain his personal enemy." 

The value of the testimony thus given in Mr. Jeffer- 
son's favour, will be more sensibly felt by a knowledge 
of Judge P[a]tt[erso]n's common opinions of his politi- 
cal opponents. On an occasion when he had the members 
of the Jersey-Bar dining at his table, along with other 
company, some of them ladies, as usual when the wine 
was circulating after dinner, toasts were given ; a young 
lady totally ignorant of politics, having heard the elo- 
quence of Mr. Giles, highly extolled, in the simplicity of 
her heart, when called upon for a toast gave "Mr. 
Giles." 1 Judge P. looked astounded, and almost angrily 
exclaimed, while he struck the table violently with his 
hand, "You had better give the devil next!" Yet this 
man did full justice to Mr. Jefferson, whose political 
character he looked upon in the same light as that of 
Mr. Giles. 

Although Mr. Jefferson had been called a visionary 
man and certainly did love to theorize and philosophize 
on the perfect-ability of man, yet he was likewise an 
essentially practical man, and like Franklin studied the 
most minute circumstances that influenced the welfare, 
comfort and improvement of social life. Among other 
customs which he thought did more harm than good, 
was the wearing mourning for deceased relatives, and 
making very expensive funerals. Could these observ- 
ances be confined to the rich, they would be, he said, 
comparatively harmless, but as such a limitation was 
impossible, the only way to check the evil, was by the 
wealthy class renouncing these expensive shows and 

1 William Branch Giles of Virginia, an exceedingly intemperate and 
extreme Republican. 


forms of grief, which to the poorer classes were not 
only inconvenient, but often ruinous. 

On this point, he enforced precept by example. When 
he lost his almost idolized daughter Mrs. E.[ppes] keenly 
and deeply as he felt this bereavement, neither he nor 
any of his family put on mourning, neither did he make 
any change in his social habits, but continued his dinner 
parties and received company as usual, considering it as 
a portion of his public duty to receive and entertain mem- 
bers of Congress and other official characters. In this 
he went too far and miscalculated the common feelings 
of humanity, which on such an occasion would have ap- 
proved rather than condemned his secluding himself for 
a while from society; he had not sufficient faith in the 
sympathies of human nature and imputed to it an un- 
deserved degree of selfishness, when he believed it his 
duty to sink the private in the public man. At the time 
persons said, "What a stoic Mr. Jefferson is." But it 
was not stoicism, as those who saw him watching over 
the declining life of this beloved child, might have told 
them. During some time before her decease, he had 
her with him at Monticello, where he devoted himself 
exclusively to her. She suffered less and breathed 
more easily in the open air, and was daily drawn 
for hours together through the grounds in a low gar- 
den-chair, he never allowed any one to draw this chair 
but himself. Dearly did he prize, deeply did he grieve 
for his lovely and beloved child. Mr. Jefferson was 
no stoic. 

As the term of his official life drew towards a close, 
he looked brighter and happier. Could it be otherwise, 
even allowing him to be an ambitious man, for had he 
not gained the goal and won the highest prize, the am- 
bition of an american citizen could obtain? He was 


urged by his friends to stand another election, but posi- 
tively declined, "He longed," as he expressed himself in 
a letter to his daughter, "he longed for the privacy and 
tranquility of home." To this home he looked as a 
secure and peaceful haven, where he might repose after 
the excitements and peril of a stormy voyage. He san- 
guinely calculated on Mr. Madison as his successor, and 
consequently on a continuance of the same policy that had 
governed his own administration. For this excellent 
man, Mr. Jefferson felt not only the esteem and con- 
fidence of the most perfect friendship, but an almost 
paternal affection and was as ambitious for him, as he 
had ever been for himself. There are few if any in- 
stances of friendship so perfect, so unselfish as that 
which entered these two great men. In a letter to a 
friend, Mr. Madison gives the following account of the 
commencement and growth of this friendship. 

"I was a stranger to Mr. Jefferson till the year 1776 
when he took his seat in the first legislature under the 
constitution of Virginia, then newly framed ; being at the 
time, myself, a member of that body, and for the first 
time a member of any public body. The acquaintance 
then made with him was very slight, the distance be- 
tween our ages being considerable and other distances 
being more so. During part of the time whilst he was 
governor of the State, I had a seat in the council associ- 
ated with him. Our acquaintance then became intimate 
and a friendship was formed, which was for life and 
which was never interrupted in the slightest degree, for 
a moment.' , 

No wonder then that Mr. Jefferson looked forward 
with satisfaction to the close of his political life, believing 
as he confidently did that Mr. Madison would fill the 
place he vacated, and would carry out those principles 


and measures which he sincerely thought would best pro- 
mote his country's good. 

On the morning of Mr. Madison's inauguration, he 
asked Mr. Jefferson to ride in his carriage with him to 
the Capitol, but this he declined, and in answer to one 
who enquired of him why he had not accompanied his 
friend, he smiled and replied, "I wished not to divide 
with him the honors of the day, it pleased me better to see 
them all bestowed on him." A large procession of cit- 
izens, some in carriages, on horse back, and still larger 
on foot, followed Mr. Madison along Pennsylvania ave- 
nue to the Capitol, among those On horse-back was Mr. 
Jefferson ; unattended by even a servant, undistinguished 
in any way from his fellow citizens. Arrived at the Cap- 
itol he dismounted and "Oh! shocking," as many, even 
democrats, as well as the British minister Mr. Foster, 
might have exclaimed, he hitched his own horse to a 
post, and followed the multitude into the Hall of Repre- 
sentatives. 1 Here a seat had been prepared for him 
near that of the new President, this he declined, and 
when urged by the Committee of arrangement, he re- 
plied, "This day I return to the people and my proper 
seat is among them." Surely this was carrying democ- 
racy too far, but it was not done, as his opponents said, 
from a mere desire of popularity; he must have known 
human nature too well, not to know that the People de- 
light to honor, and to see honored their chosen favorite ; 
besides what more popularity could he now desire, his cup 
was already running over and could have held no more. 
No, he wished by his example as well as his often ex- 
pressed opinions, to establish the principle of political 

1 Here is probably the origin of the apocryphal story that Jefferson 
hitched his horse to the fence when he was inaugurated himself. 


After the ceremony of Inauguration, Mr. Madison fol- 
lowed by the same crowd returned home to his private 
house, where he and Mrs. Madison received the visits of 
the foreign ministers and their fellow citizens. It was 
the design, as generally understood, after paying their 
respects to the new President, that citizens should go 
to the President's House and pay a farewell visit to 
Mr. Jefferson ; but to the surprise of everyone, he him- 
self, was among the visitors at Mr. Madison's. A lady 
who was on terms of intimacy with the ex-President 
and could therefore take that liberty, after telling him 
that the present company and citizens generally, desired 
to improve this last opportunity of evincing their re- 
spects by waiting on him, added her hopes that he would 
yet be at home in time to receive them. "This day 
should be exclusively my friend's," replied he, "and I 
am too happy in being here, to remain at home." "But 
indeed Sir you must receive us, you would not let all 
these ladies all your friends find an empty house, for at 
any rate we are determined to go, and to express even 
on this glad occasion, the regret we feel on losing you." 
His countenance discovered some emotion, he made no 
reply, but bowed expressively. The lady had no posi- 
tive information to give those who had requested her to 
enquire whether Mr. Jefferson would receive company, 
but watching his motions, found that after a little while 
he had silently slipped through the crowd and left the 
room. This she communicated to the company, who 
with one accord determined to follow him to the Presi- 
dent's house. It was evident that he had not expected 
this attention from his friends and fellow citizens, as his 
whole house-hold had gone forth to witness the cere- 
monies of the day. He was alone; but not, therefore, 
the less happy, for not one of the eager crowd that fol- 


lowed Mr. Madison, was as anxious as himself to show 
every possible mark of respect to the new President. 

How mournful was this last interview! Every one 
present semed to feel it so, and as each in turn shook 
hands with him, their countenances expressed more 
forcibly than their words the regret they felt on losing 
one who had been the uniform friend of the city, and of 
the citizens, with whom they had lived on terms of hos- 
pitality and kindness. 

In the evening there was an Inauguration Ball. Mr. 
Jefferson was among the first that entered the Ball- 
room; he came before the President's arrival. "Am I 
too early?" said he to a friend. "You must tell me how 
to behave for it is more than forty years since I have 
been to a ball." 

In the course of the evening, some one remarked to 
him, "You look so happy and satisfied Mr. Jefferson, and 
Mr. Madison looks so serious not to say sad, that a spec- 
tator might imagine that you were the one coming in, 
and he the one going out of office." 

"There's good reason for my happy and his serious 
looks," replied Mr. Jefferson, "I have got the burthen 
off my shoulders, while he has now got it on his." 

Thus closed Mr. Jefferson's eight years residence in 
Washington. The constant interest he had taken in the 
improvement of the city, the frank hospitality he had ex- 
tended to the citizens, made his departure the subject 
of general regret. 



My Dear Madam 

I received your kind invitation to your party, given 
on the interesting occasion of your sons marriage, 1 and 
fully intending to attend it, I did not before reply to 
your friendly note. There is no house in the city to 
which I would go, with more pleasure, under such cir- 
cumstances; but the badness of the evening, and the 
delicate state of my health will not allow me to venture 
out, and I must therefore limit myself to a cordial con- 
gratulation on the event which has happened, and the 
expression of a fervent wish that the young couple may 
realize all the happiness which they anticipate, and all 
that their parents desire for them. 

With great esteem and regard 

I am faithfully yr's 

H. Clay 

Mrs. M. H. Smith, Wash'n 7 Mar. 42 

Jonathan Bayard H. Smith married Henrietta E. Henley, daughter of 
Commodore John Dandridge Henley, U. S. N., a nephew of Mrs. George 
Washington, March 3, 1842. 



Abbott, Jacob, 370 

Adams, John Quincy, relations 
with Calhoun, 163; Crawford's 
preference for, 175; asks Craw- 
ford to remain in his cabinet, 
178; making his cabinet, 180; 
election of, 181, 182, 186, 187; 
Crawford, letter to, 193; presi- 
dent of Columbian Institute, 
208 ; feeble health of, 257 ; rents 
house of Commodore Porter, 
258; in House of Representa- 
tives, 325 

Adams, Mrs. John Quincy, 150, 
170, 248 

Antrobus, Mr., 135 

Armstrong, Robert, 89, 113, 115 

Astley, Mr., 148 

Bacon, Ezekiel, 93 

Bagot, Sir Charles and Mrs., 134, 

Bailey, Mr. and Mrs. Theodorus, 

Bailey, Mrs. Theodorus, 18 
Bailey, Theodorus, 144, 211 
Baldwin, Henry, 147, 283 
Bankhead, Mr., 70, 72 
Bankhead, Mrs. (Anne Jefferson), 

67, 74 
Barbour, Cornelia, 331 
Barbour, James, 137, 138, 208, 209, 

Barbour, Miss, 137, 138 
Barbour, Mrs. James, 208 
Barbour, Philip Pendleton, 227, 

228, 268, 279 

Barlow, Joel, 48, 49, 55 

Barlow, Mrs. Joel, 136, 139, 165, 

Barnet, Mrs., 258 
Barney, Joshua, 102 
Barret, Mr., 346 
Barret, Mrs., 238, 345 
Barry, Wm. T., 311 
Barton, Col., 164 
Bayard, James A., 10, 24, 26, 344, 

Bayard, John Murray, 88 
Bayard, Mrs. James A., 56, 57 
Beckley, John, 45 
Beckley, Mr. and Mrs. John, 43 
Bell, Mrs., 1, 5 

Bently, Mrs., 100, 101, 104, 107 
Benton, Mrs. Thomas H., 294 
Berrian, John H., 282, 307, 311 
Berry, Duke of, 150 
Beverly, the Misses, 161 
Biddle, Nicholas, 223, 307 
Bladensburg, battle of, 100 
Blake, Mr., 135 

Bleecker, Anthony, 166, 168, 169 
Bomford, George, 211, 314, 346, 

347, 380 
Bomford, Col. and Mrs. George, 

139, 190, 247, 268 
Bomford, Mrs. George, 136, 145, 

156, 157, 209, 210, 245, 308, 354, 

Bonaparte, Napoleon, 267 
Bordeaux, Mrs., 156, 206, 354 
Bourquinay, Mr., 135 
Boyd, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel, 166 
Boyd, Samuel, 163 




Bradley, Dr., 99 

Bradley, Mrs., 118, 152, 159, 290 

Bradley, Willie, 99 

Branch, John, 311, 312 

Breckenridge, Caroline, 245, 268 

Breckenridge, Rev. John, 16, 159, 

160, 272, 279 
Brent, Robert, 56 
British, the, near Washington, 89, 

Brookville, Mrs. Smith, takes 

refuge in, 98 
Brooks, Mrs., 346 
Brown, Jacob, 185, 208 
Brown, Mr. and Mrs. James, 139, 

Brown, Mr. and Mrs. John, 19 
Brown, Mrs. John, 12, 18, 91, 130, 

Brush, Mrs., 112, 114, 115, 328 
Bryan, Mrs., 346 
Bryan, William, 247, 346, 347 
Buck, Mr., 148 
Burnels, Mrs., 270 
Burning of Washington, news of, 

Burr, Aaron, 10, 21 
Burrows, Capt, 30 
Butler, Mrs. Benjamin R, 356 

Caldwell, Mr., 151, 152, 159 

Caldwell, Mrs., 130, 131 

Calhoun, John C, 142, 163, 311; 
conversation with, 147; removal 
to Georgetown of, 164; talks of 
the election, 269, 270; sensation 
produced by pamphlet of, 333, 
334 ; patriotism of, 341 ; talks 
with Mrs. Clay and Mrs. Smith, 
346; admiration of, for Harriet 
Martineau, 365, 368; report on 
patronage, 369 

Calhoun, Mr. and Mrs. John C, 
268, 274 

Calhoun, Mrs. John C, 144, 155, 
170; ball at house of, 148; loses 
her infant daughter, 149 ; dinner 
at house of, 152; departure of, 

Calhoun, Old Mrs., 153, 159, 160 

Calve, Mr. de, 56 

Cambrel ing, Churchill C, 174 

Campbell, George W., 93, 280, 305, 
3". 312 

Campbell, Rev. John Nicholas, 
239, 250, 273 

Capitol Hill, beauties of, in 1800, 

Carf, Dabney, 102, 242, 243 

Carroll, Daniel, 13 

Carroll, Miss, 99 

Carroll, the Misses, 57 

Carter's Mountain, anecdote con- 
cerning, 390 

Carusi, Mr., 210 

Cass, Lewis, 245, 247 

Catholic Chapel, first one in Wash- 
ington, 13, 16 

Chase, Mr., 250 

Cherokee Chiefs, 30 

Cholera, prevalence of, in Wash- 
ington, 155, 335 

Church, first one in Washington, 


Claiborne, Nathaniel H., 245 

Claiborne, W. C. C, 26 

Clark, Dr., 161 

Clark, Marion, 377 

Clay, Ann, 87 

Clay, Henry, 84; not so popular 
as Johnson, 129; intimacy with 
Monroe, 141 ; speech of, 145 ; 
appearance of, at " Drawing 
Room," 183 ; influence of, 185 ; 
conversation with, 207 ; in the 
"Telegraph," 212; hospitality 
of, 213; illness of, 256, 257, 276; 
assumed cheerfulness of, 259; 



reception at home of, 271 ; con- 
versation with, 277 ; in defeat, 
279; character of, 285, 286; at 
dinner table of Mrs. Smith, 299 ; 
compares characters of Jefferson 
and Madison, 300; sensibility of, 
301; death of infant of, 302; 
domestic affliction of, 303 ; 
placed on important commit- 
tees, 325 ; chosen candidate for 
presidency, 332 ; presidential 
hopes for, 344; conversation of, 
with Harriet Martineau, 361 ; 
friendship for Harriet Martin- 
eau, 364, 368; death of his 
daughter, 375; affection of, for 
Mrs. Smith, 375 ; congratulates 
Mrs. Smith on her son's mar- 
riage, 413 

Clay, Mr. and Mrs. Henry, 85, 
139, 246, 286 

Clay, Mrs. Henry, 84, 91, 157, 207, 
211, 212, 238, 245, 249, 256, 257, 
260, 262, 289, 290, 344, 347, 375 ; 
character of, 86, 88; death of 
her child, 130, 135; sale of fur- 
niture of, 285 ; unhappiness of, 
324 ; health of, 353 

Clifton, Mrs., 153, 247 

Cobb, Thomas W., 173, 176, 181, 
182, 184, 186 

Cockburn, Admiral George, 109, 
in, 112, 113 

Coles, Edward, 56, 61 

Colton, Mr., 328, 339 

Conrad's boarding house, 9, 10, 
12, 31 

Coolidge, Ellen Randolph, 362 

Cooper, James Fenimore, 166, 167, 

Correa da Serra, Jose, 135, 138, 

Cox, Rev. Samuel Hanson, 249 

Cranch, Edward, 245 

Cranet, John, 292 

Craven, Mr., 30 

Craven, Mrs., 85 

Crawford, Caroline, 170, 172, 181, 

Crawford, Mrs. Wm. H., 170, 172, 

173, 177 

Crawford, Wm. H., 160-162; 
summer residence of, 164; ill- 
ness of, 165, 166; loyalty of his 
friends, 173; defeat of, 173, 174, 
176, 177; game of chess with, 
175 ; declines to remain in Cab^- 
inet, 178; family life of, 179; 
devotion to his children, 188; 
Lafayette's visit to, 189; writes 
to Adams, 193, 194, 195; anec- 
dote of his barber, 198, 199; re- 
ports of illness of, 199, 200; 
character of, 202, 203 

Cutting, Mr., 112 

Cutting, Mr. and Mrs., 87 

Cutting, Mrs., 91, 97, no 

Cutts, Mrs. Richard D., 61, 62, 82, 
no, 141, 157, 211, 238, 260, 314, 

Cutts, Richard D., 82, no, 143 

Danforth, Rev. Mr., 273, 285 
Dannery, Mr., 265, 267 
Day, Mr., 168 
Dayton, Jonathan, 26 
Dearborn, Henry, 31, 35 
Decatur, Stephen, 150, 151 
Decatur, Stephen and Mrs., 135 
Decatur, Mrs. Stephen, 150, 151 
Dickens, Asbury, 176 
Dickens, Mrs. Asbury, 261 
Donelson, Mrs. Andrew Jackson, 

307, 308 
Dougherty, Joseph, 313 
Doughty, James, 164, 245 
Doyne, Eliza, 114 
" Drawing Room," attractions of, 



95; Mrs. Madison's, 83, 130; 

Mrs. Adams's, 182, 183 
Durand, Cyrus, 374 
Duval, Capt., 346 
Duval, Mrs., 35, 38, 135 

Easton, Miss, 304 

Eaton, John H., 252, 255, 282, 

3ii, 319, 344 
Eaton, Mrs. ("Peggy" O'Neill), 

252, 282, 288, 289, 305, 311, 318, 

320, 327 
Eddsborough, Mrs., 323 
Elliot, Dawes, 245, 246 
Ellison, Mr., 245 
English, Lydia, 275 
Episcopal Church, first one in 

Washington, 16 
Eppes, Mrs. John Wayles (Maria 

Jefferson), 34 
Erskine, M., 62 
Esmanyart, Mr., 263 
Everett, Edward, 14, 212 
Everett, Mr. and Mrs. Edward, 

Ewing, Mr., 257 

Fair for the orphan asylum, 367 
Farley, John, 323, 324 
Feronais, Count de la, 264 
Finley, Robert, 130, 131 
Fisk, Jonathan, 93 
Fletcher, Thomas, 140 
Forsyth, John, 95, 170 
Forsyth, Mr. and Mrs. John, 154 
Foster, Sir Augustus, 385, 400 
Franklin, Benjamin, 59 
Frelinghuysen, Mrs., 312 
Fulton, the Misses, 261 

Gales, Ann Eliza, 89, 91, 135, 161 
Gales, Joseph, 89, 112, 209, 211, 

283, 290 
Gallatin, Albert, 31, 86, 307 

Gallatin, Mrs. Albert, 27, 32, 45, 

49, 56 
Gallaudet, Miss, 143 
Gallaudet, Thomas Hopkins, 144, 

Gemme, Carre De V., 2, 19 
Gilmore, Mr., 137 
Gilmore, Mrs., 294 
Gilmer, Mr. and Mrs., 268 
Gorham, Mrs. Benjamin, 342, 343 
Graham, Mary Ann, 340 
Graham, Mrs. George, 381 
Grammar (E. Doyne), 115 
Granger, Gideon, 35, 37 
Green, Duff, 211 
Gurley, Mrs., 328 
Gurley, Ralph Randolph, 328 

Hamilton, Alexander, 212 

Hamilton, Mrs., 289 

Hampton, affair of, 90 

Harper, Mrs., 151 

Harris, Rev. William, 167 

Harrison, William Henry, 137, 
138, 140 

Hart, Jeannette, 340 

Hauto, Mr., 54, 55 

Hay, Mrs., 150 

Hayne, Robert Y., 310 

Hayne, Mrs. Robert Y., 288 

Henderson, Col., 210 

Henry, Mr., 250 

Hervey, Mr., 213 

Hillhouse, James Abraham, 168 

Hoar, Mr., 174 

Holly, Mrs., 260 

Holmes, David, 18 

Holmes, John, 145, 173 

House, Col., 344 

House of Representatives, de- 
stroyed by British, 109; loung- 
ing in, 94; refreshments in, 146, 

Hughes, Mr., 135 



Humboldt, Baron, 395, 397 
Hungerford, Gen. John Pratt, 106 
Hunter, Dr. Andrew, 160 
Hunter, Mrs., 158 
Huntt, Dr. Henry, 157, 272 
Huygens, Madame, 305, 318 
Huygens, Mr. (Dutch Minister), 

Inauguration ball, 60, 412 
Inauguration of Jefferson, 25; 

Madison, 58, 410 
Independence Day, celebration of, 

Indian dance, 247 
Ingersoll, Charles I., 96 
Ingham, Samuel D., 282, 287, 311 
Ingham, Mr. and Mrs., 255 
Ingham, Mrs. Samuel D., 289, 

Iturbide, Madame, 322 

Jackson, Andrew, 177, 180; con- 
gratulates Adams, 183; letter 
from, 253; death of wife, 259, 
260 ; arrival of, 272, 273, 281 ; 
refuses to have inaugural pa- 
rade, 284; rumors about Cabinet 
of, 281, 282, 283; inauguration 
of, 290; marriage of adopted 
son of, 325 ; accessible to the 
people, 306; calls on Mrs. Ran- 
dolph, 308, 309; in his dotage, 
318, 320 
Jackson, John G., 98 
Jackson, Mrs. Andrew, 253 
Jefferson, Thomas, first interview 
with, 5 ; fondness of, for trees, 
11, 394; residence at Conrad's, 
12; election of, 21 ; inauguration 
of, 25 ; inaugural address of, 26 ; 
reception by, 30, 34, 38; fond- 
ness for grandchildren, 50, 76, 

78; present of seeds from, 50; 
tete-a-tete with, 55; retirement 
of, 58; entertains Mrs. Smith 
at Monticello, 67; bedchamber 
of, 72; drive with, 72\ family 
letters of, 74; parting with, 79; 
letter on religion, 126; favors 
Crawford, 163; Rector of Uni- 
versity of Virginia, 229; visit 
to grave of, 230; children and 
grandchildren of, 231; Mr. 
Trist's story of, 242, 243 ; de- 
votion of daughter to, 309; 
stories of, by his servant, 314; 
religion of, 315; "death-bed 
adieu" of, 316; fondness of, 
for pets, 385; furnishes White 
House, 384; dress of, 386; in- 
ventions of, 387; his dumb 
waiter, 387; dinner parties of, 
388; cooking at his table, 392; 
rides of, 393 ; inventions of, 392 ; 
friendship with Baron Hum- 
boldt, 395; knowledge of Indi- 
ans, 402; ceremonial of, 405; 
home circle of, 406; custom as 
to mourning, 407; friendship for 
Madison, 409 

Jefferson's Manual, 8 

Jeffries, Miss, 354 

Jinkinson, Mr. and Mrs., 51 

Jessup, Mrs., 246 

Johns, Mr., 339 

Johnson, Chapman, 229 

Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. R. M., 
166, 168 

Johnson, Mrs. Richard Mentor, 
206, 238 

Johnson, Richard Mentor, 128, 
140, 146 

Johnston, Mrs. Josiah S., 240, 
245, 246 

Jones, Charles, 97 

Jones, Mrs. Walter, 238, 329 



Kautzow, the Misses de, 140 

Key, Frank, 293 

King, Rufus, 40 

King, John Pendleton, 330, 341, 

Kirkpatrick, Bayard, 362 
Kirkpatrick, George Littleton, 87, 

Kirkpatrick, Maria, 47, 48 
Kirkpatrick, Mary Ann, 88, 129, 

132, 133, 136, 137, 138, 140 
Kremer, George, 212 
Krudener, Baron, 262 

Lafayette, General, 177, 187, 189 
Lafayette, George, 177, 189 
Lanark, settlement at, 220, 221, 

Lansdale, Miss, 85 
Larned, Mr., 144 
Law, John, 85, 158 
Law, Mrs. Thomas, 1, 2, 3, 4, 18, 

Law, Thomas, 1, 4, 9, 20, 49 
Lawrence, Miss, 168 
Lear, Mrs. Tobias, 323, 331, 381 
Lee, Mr., 102, 103 
Leon, Mr., 275 
Lewis, Joe, 174 
Lewis, Meriwether, 393 
Lindsay, Dr. and Mrs., 250 
Livingston, Edward, 325 
Livingston, Mrs. Edward, 288, 

325, 326 
Livingston, Robert R., 40 
Lomax, Professor, 226, 227 
Louisiana, cession of, 38, 40 
Lovel, Dr., 246 
Lovel, Dr. and Mrs., 250, 268 
Lovel, Mrs., 210, 238, 246 
Lowndes, Caleb, 54, 55, 56, 388 
Lowndes, Mrs., 130, 145 
Lowrie, Walter, 173, 184, 182, 185, 


Lyon, Mr., 286, 289, 300, 303 

McClure, William, 388 

McComb, General Alexander, 286, 

McComb, Mrs. Alexander, 238, 

McKenney, Dr., 168, 169 

McKenny, Col., 160 

McLane, Louis, 170, 179, 190, 191, 
192, 193, 252, 261, 282, 283, 325, 

McLane, Mrs. Louis, 149, 164, 
251, 252, 260, 261, 275, 319, 320, 
321, 325, 343 

McMunn and Conrad's, 31 

Macon, Nathaniel, 164 

Madison, James, 31 ; remarks on 
champagne, 36; visits Sidney, 
51; inauguration of, 58; de- 
meanor at inauguration ball, 61 ; 
remarks at inauguration ball, 
63, 64; movements after battle 
of Bladensburg, 106, 107 ; goes 
to Mrs. Cutts's house, no; or- 
ders resistance to British, 114; 
greets Mr. Finley, 131 ; praises 
University of Virginia, 229 ; wel- 
comes Mr. and Mrs. Smith to 
Montpelier, 233 ; speaks of his 
reminiscences, 235 ; sportive dis- 
position of, 236; feeble health 
of, 358; friendship of, for Jef- 
ferson, 410; inauguration of, 

Madison, Mrs., 49 ; interview with 
Dr. Breckenridge, 17; intimacy 
with, 29; dinner with, 35; game 
of cards with, 38; visits Sidney, 
57; inaugural reception of, 58; 
appearance at inauguration ball, 
61, 62; kindness of, 82, 83; de- 
pression of, after battle, no; 
movements of, after battle, no, 



III j asks Miss Mary Kirk- 
patrick to play, 132; appearance 
of, 134; kindness to Miss Kirk- 
patrick, 138; a talk with, 234; 
hospitality of, 234; runs a race 
with Anna Smith, 237 ; writes 
account of her life, 351; life at 
Montpelier, 380 
Madison, " Old Mrs.," 236 
Madison, William, 82 
Marke, Mr., 85 

Martineau, Harriet, visit from. 
354; reception to, 356; dinner 
to > 359 ; friendship for Clay, 364 ; 
friends of, 365 ; conversation of, 
365; modesty of, 366; attentions 
to, 368; political address to, 369 
Mason, Armistead Thomson, 33, 

Mason, Mrs. Armistead Thomson, 

104, 105, 107, 157 
May, Frederick, 4, 5, 18 
May, Mrs. Frederick, 158 
Mayne, Mr., 394 
Meade, William, 225 
Meigs, Return J., 161 
Meigs, Mrs. Return J., 135 
Meley Meley (Tunisian Minis- 
ter), 400, 401, 402, 403 
Menou, Count de, 174 
Mercer, John Fenton, 145 
Meredith, 31 

Merry, Mrs. Anthony, 45, 404 
Middleton, Mrs. Henry, 165, 204 
Miller, Mary, 245, 246, 247 
Mitchill, Samuel L., 49, 166, 168 
Mitchill, Mrs. Samuel L., 168 
Monroe, James, confidence of sol- 
diers in, 89; joins the Presi- 
dent, 108 
Monroe, Mr. and Mrs. James, 

manners of, 141 
Montgomery C. H., burning of, 

Montgomery, Mrs. 86 

Monticello, visit to, 65; descrip- 
tion of, 66; dinner at, 67; sun- 
rise at, 69; improvements at, 
68, 69; breakfast at, 68, 69; 
view from, 70; daily routine at, 
70; library at, 71; second visit 
to, 230; desolation at, 231 

Montpelier, visit to, 65 ; arrival 
at, 81; breakfast at, 83; hospi- 
tality at, 81; house at, 82; sup- 
per at, 82 ; second visit to, 233 ; 
dinner at, 235 ; departure from, 

Moore, Mr., 167 
Morgan, Col. James, 37 
Morris, Gouverneur, 26 
Morris, Miss, 268, 289 
Mulligan, Mr., 101 
Mumford, Gurdon S., 84 

National Intelligencer, the estab- 
lishment of, 9 ; burning of office, 

Navy Yard, burning of, 102 

Nelson, Hugh, 225, 226 

Neuville, Hyde de, 134, 135 

Neuville, Madame Hyde de, 140 

Newal, Mrs., 238 

Newman, Mrs., 368 

New Year's Day, reception at 
White House, 400 

Nicholas, Wilson Cary, 19, 20 

Nicholson, Joseph Hopper, 24 

Nicholson, Maria, 28 

Noah, Mordecai Manuel, 274 

Numidian Lion, 367 

Ogilvie, Mr., 95, 97, 98 

Ohnes, Mr., 174 

Onis, the Misses de, 140 

Orr, Henry, 359 

Osage chiefs, reception to, 400 



Otis, Mr. and Mrs. Harrison 

Gray, i, 5 
Otis, Mrs. Harrison Gray, 18, 

Owen, of Lanark, 179, 196, 197, 

Paterson, William, 406 

Payne, Anna (Mrs. Richard D. 

Cutts), 29 
Palfrey, Mr., 340 
Pederson, Peter, 56, 57 
Persico, 270 
Pettrich, sculptor, 378 
Pichon, Henrietta, 214, 265 
Pichon, Jerome, 217 
Pichon, Louis Andre, 33 
Pichon, Madame, 34, 44, 45, 47, 

165, 204 
Pichon, Theodore, 217, 263 
Pike, Zebulon Montgomery, 53 
Pinkney, William, 96, 149* 
Pise, Charles Constantine, 340 
Plane, Mrs. de la, 330 
Poindexter, Mr., 340 
Porter, Commodore David, 258 
Porter, Peter B., 245, 249, 257, 

258, 274 
Porter, Genl. and Mrs. Peter B., 

Porter, Mrs. Peter B., 238, 245, 

249, 260, 261, 262, 272, 274, 275, 

276, 279, 285, 289, 290, 298, 299 
Portrait of Washington, rescue of, 

Post, Mr., 158, 160 
Pouillet, Mr., 215 
Precedence, questions of, 326, 404 
President's House. See White 

Preston, William Campbell, 353, 


Quincy, Josiah, 83, 84, 285 

Randal, Mrs., 343 

Randolph, Burrel, 242 

Randolph, Jefferson, 67, 70, 224, 

Randolph, John, of Roanoke, 42, 

43, 186, 187, 212 
Randolph, Mary, 72 
Randolph, Mrs. Thomas Mann 

(Martha Jefferson), 34, 35, 49, 

67, 74, 77, 79, 157, 231, 242, 307, 

308, 313, 314, 363 
Randolph, Thomas Mann, 67, 70 
Randolph, Virginia, 72 
Ridgely, Major, 100 
Riggs, E., 100 

Riley, Capt. James, 148, 367, 372 
Rives, Wm. Cabell, 227 
Rives, Mr. and Mrs. William 

Cabell, 268 
Rodgers, John, 376 
Ross, Genl. Alexander, 109 
Rush, Richard, 94, 106, 257, 259, 

278, 279, 290 

Rush, Mrs. Richard, 208, 238, 243, 

279, 308 
Rush, Miss, 140 

Sanford, Mrs. Nathan, 289 

Schaefer, Frederick Christian, 167 

Scott, John, 185, 247 

Scott, Winfield, 183 

Seaton, Julia, 247 

Seaton, Mrs. William, 91, 135, 238, 

245, 246, 270, 290, 330, 356 
Seaton, Mr. and Mrs. William, 

247, 268, 274 
Seaton, William, 89, 91, 290 
Seawell, Dr., 314 
Sedgwick, Catharine Maria, 168, 

334, 343 
Senate chamber, admission of 

ladies to, 149, 310, 352 
Shales, Mr., 246 
Sidney, first view of, 44 



Sim, Dr. and Mrs. Thomas, 268 
Sim, Dr. Thomas, 253, 335, 337, 

338, 340 
" Sister Gertrude," 322 
Slave insurrection, fear of, 90 
Smith, Andrew, 276 
Smith, Ann, 93, 95, 97, 99, i°3, 

116, 139, 329> 348 
Smith, Anna, 145, 147, 223, 348 
Smith, Catharine, 347 
Smith, Esther, 245 
Smith, Jonathan Bayard H., 84, 

148, 336; visits Montpelier, 381; 

marriage of, 413 
Smith, Julia, 93, 101, 145, 147, 

251, 272, 345, 348 
Smith, Mrs. Andrew, 238, 275 
Smith, Mrs. Robert, 46, 47, 62, 

Smith, Robert, 45 
Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Har- 
rison, visit General Jackson, 289, 

Smith, Mrs. Samuel Harrison 
(Margaret Bayard), arrival in 
Washington, 1 ; visits Bruns- 
wick, 37; visits New York, 40; 
goes to Sidney, 49; visits Mon- 
ticello, 65 ; visits Montpelier, 81 ; 
flees from the British, 98; re- 
turns to Sidney, 109; visits 
Mrs. Boyd in New York, 166; 
visits Charlottesville, Va., 223; 
visits Monticello the second 
time, 230; leaves Monticello, 
232; visits Montpelier for sec- 
ond time, 233 ; moves into a new 
house, 238; gives a party, 268; 
gives a party in honor of Mr. 
and Mrs. Calhoun, 274; gives a 
party for Mrs. Randolph, 307; 
takes Mrs. Randolph to the 
White House, 307; amusements 
at home, 328; impromptu verses 

of, 331 ; letter of Miss Sedgwick 
to, 333 
Smith, Samuel Harrison, relations 
with Jefferson, 9; Commissioner 
of the Revenue, 92; losses of, 
in war, 101, 102, 103, 119; re- 
turns to city, 107; visits Presi- 
dent after battle, no; reads 
memoir of Jefferson before Co- 
lumbian Institute, 208; dines 
with Typographical Society, 
209; talks to Miss Martineau, 

Smith, Susan, 49, 52, 53, 101, 261, 

328, 329 
Smith, Susan Harrison, 97 
Smythe, Gen. Alexander, 145 
Southard, Mrs. Samuel, 211, 212, 

238, 243, 245, 246, 249, 298, 372 
Southard, Samuel, 163, 243, 252, 

257, 258, 273, 278, 290 
Southard, Virginia, 245, 344, 346, 

347, 372 
Sprague, Mrs., 343 
Sprigg, Capt., 38 
Sprigg, Mrs., 85 
Stevens, Alexander Hodgson, 168, 

206, 350 
Stevens, Mr., 97, 98 
Stevenson, Andrew, 210 
Stewart, Charles Samuel, 371 
Stone, Mrs., 141 
Sumter, Thomas, 30 
Sunday observance in Washing- 
ton, 16, 17 
Sunday services at the Capitol, 13 
Supreme Court, speeches in, 96 
Sutherland, Miss, 270 
Swartwout, Samuel, 177 

Tasslet, Mr., 155 
Tasslet, Mrs., 153 
Tayloe, Mr., 145, 147 
Tayloe, Mrs., 356 



Tayloe, the Misses, 339 

Taylor, General Zachary, 345 

Tazewell, Littleton Waller, 283 

Thierrie, Mr., 135 

Thompson, Rishey, 211 

Thornton, Mrs. William, 1, 51, 55, 
no, in, 156, 206, 210, 211, 238, 
245, 308, 341, 343, 354, 381 

Thornton, William, 1, 51 

Tiber, the, beauties of, 10, n 

Tingly, Miss, 18 

Tingly, Mrs. Thomas, 1, 2, 4, 18, 

Tingly, Thomas, 1, 5, 18, 33, Sh 62, 

113, 283, 290 
Todd, John Payne, 131, 351, 381 
Tompkins, Daniel D., 149 
Tracy, Mr., 88 
Trist, Mrs. Nicholas, 231 
Trist, Nicholas, 231, 242, 247 
Turreau de Garambonville, 56, 62 

University of Virginia, description 
of, 225, 226; library of, 226, 
227; Jefferson's influence over 
students of, 229; described, 382 

Vail, Miss, 238 

Vail, Stephen, 185, 186 

Van Buren, Martin, 170, 173, 176, 

190, 192, 282, 287, 305, 306, 309, 

310, 320, 344, 349 
Van Cortlandt, Philip, 18 
Van Ness, John Peter, 211 
Van Ness, Mrs. John Peter (Mar- 

cia Burns), 135, 141, 157, 209, 

210, 211, 373 
Van Rensselaer, Mrs. Stephen, 

184, 185, 327 

Van Rensselaer, Stephen, 175, 184, 

185, 191, 192, 193, 250 
Vaughan, Charles Richard, 255, 

270, 356 

Ward, Col. and Mrs., 272 

Warden, David Bailie, 214 

Wayne, James Moore, 325, 343 

Wayne, Mrs. James Moore, 343 

Webster, Daniel, 162, 185, 187, 
310, 368 

Webster, Mrs. Daniel, 344, 348 

Weightman, Richard, in 

Wharton, Col., 113 

Wharton, Miss, 344 

Wharton, Mrs., 165 

White House, burning of, in ; de- 
stroyed by British, 109; de- 
scription of, 383; furnishing of, 
384; improvement of grounds 
of, 393 

Wilkes, Mrs. Charles, 377 

Williams, Miss, 270 

Willis, Dr., 45 

Winder, William Henry, 100, 101, 

Wingate, Margaret, 85 
Wirt, Catharine, 239, 323 
Wirt, Elizabeth, 239 
Wirt, Mr. and Mrs. William, 208 
Wirt, Mrs. William, 244, 249, 270, 

317, 318, 323, 343 
Wirt, William, 142, 207, 228, 239, 

240, 246, 257, 272, 290, 316, 317, 

Wood, Mr., 156, 250, 289, 290, 292, 

Woodbury, Levi, 283 
Worthington, Dr., 106 



DEC i 2 19ffl 


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